“From him all the body is harmoniously joined together and made to cooperate.”
SONGS: 53, 107
1. From the beginning, what has characterized God’s works?
JEHOVAH and Jesus have been united from the very beginning of creation. Jehovah created Jesus before all other things. Then, Jesus worked with him and “was beside him as a master worker.” (Proverbs 8:30) Jehovah’s servants also cooperated with one another in the work that they had to do. For example, Noah and his family built the ark together. Later, the Israelites worked together to build the tabernacle, to take it apart, and to move it from one place to another. At the temple, they sang and played musical instruments together to praise Jehovah with beautiful music. Jehovah’s people were able to do all these things because they cooperated with one another.
2. (a) What was noteworthy about the early Christian congregation? (b) What questions will we address?
2 Christians in the first century also cooperated with one another. The apostle Paul explained that although they had different abilities and assignments, they were united. They all followed their Leader, Jesus Christ. Paul compared them to a body that has many different parts that all work together. (Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 12.) But what about us today? How can we cooperate with one another in the preaching work, in the congregation, and in the family?
COOPERATE IN THE PREACHING WORK
3. What vision did the apostle John receive?
3 In the first century, the apostle John had a vision of seven angels who were blowing trumpets. When the fifth angel blew his trumpet, John saw “a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth.” That “star” used a key to open the door to a deep, dark pit. First, thick smoke came out of the pit, and then a swarm of locusts flew out of the smoke. Instead of harming the trees or plants, these locusts attacked those who did “not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” (Revelation 9:1-4) John knew that a swarm of locusts can cause a lot of damage; they had done so in Egypt in the time of Moses. (Exodus 10:12-15) The locusts that John saw represent anointed Christians who have been preaching a powerful message against false religion. And millions of others who look forward to life on earth have joined them. Together, they are united in this preaching work. This work has helped many people to leave false religion and to be free from Satan’s control.
We are able to preach worldwide because we cooperate with one another
4. What work do God’s people have to do, and what is the only way they can do this?
4 We have the assignment to preach the “good news” to people worldwide before the end comes. This is a huge amount of work! (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) We have to invite all those “thirsting” to drink “life’s water,” that is, we need to teach Bible truth to all those who want to understand it. (Revelation 22:17) But we can do this only if we are “harmoniously joined together” and cooperate with one another in the congregation.
5, 6. How are we united as we preach the good news?
5 To reach as many people as possible, we need to be well-organized in our preaching work. The direction we get from our congregation helps us to do this. After we meet for field service, we go out to speak to people about the good news of the Kingdom. We also offer them publications about the Bible. In fact, we have given out millions of these publications around the world. Sometimes we are asked to take part in special preaching campaigns. When you do this work, you are united with millions of others around the world who are preaching the same message! You are also working with the angels, who are helping God’s people to preach the good news.
6 How exciting it is to read in the Yearbook about the results of the preaching work all over the world! Think, too, about how we are united worldwide as we invite people to our conventions. There, we all listen to the same information. Talks, dramas, and demonstrations encourage us to give Jehovah our best. We are also united with our brothers and sisters worldwide when we attend the Memorial every year. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) We meet together on the same date, Nisan 14, after sundown to show that we are grateful for what Jehovah did for us and to obey Jesus’ command. And in the weeks before the Memorial, we work together to invite as many people as possible to join us at this important event.
7. As we work together, what are we able to do?
7 One locust cannot do much on its own. And on our own, we cannot preach to all people. But because we work together, we are able to tell millions of people about Jehovah and to help some praise and honor him.
COOPERATE IN THE CONGREGATION
8, 9. (a) What illustration did Paul use to teach Christians to stay united? (b) How can we cooperate in the congregation?
8 Paul explained to the Ephesians how the congregation is organized, and he said that all in the congregation need to “grow up in all things.” (Read Ephesians 4:15, 16.) Paul used the example of a body to explain that each Christian can help the congregation to stay united and to follow Jesus, the Leader of the congregation. He said that all parts of the body cooperate “through every joint that gives what is needed.” So whether we are young or old, have good health or not, what should each one of us do?
How can you help the congregation to stay united?
9 Jesus has appointed elders to take the lead in the congregation, and he wants us to respect them and follow the direction they give us. (Hebrews 13:7, 17) This is not always easy to do. But we can ask Jehovah for help. His holy spirit can help us to obey any direction that the elders give us. Think also about how much we can help our congregation if we are humble and cooperate with the elders. Our congregation will be united, and our love for one another will grow stronger.
10. How do ministerial servants help the congregation to be united? (See opening picture.)
10 Ministerial servants too help to keep the congregation united. They work hard to help the elders, and we are grateful for all that they do. For example, ministerial servants make sure that we have enough publications to use in the ministry, and they welcome visitors who come to our meetings. They also work hard to repair the Kingdom Hall and keep it clean. When we cooperate with these brothers, we are united and serve Jehovah in an organized way.
11. What may younger ones do to help the congregation be united?
11 Some elders have worked very hard in the congregation for many years. But perhaps they cannot do as much as they used to because they are getting older. Younger brothers can help. If they are trained, they can take care of more responsibilities in the congregation. And when ministerial servants work hard, they may be able to serve as elders in the future. (1 Timothy 3:1, 10) Some younger elders have made even more progress. They now serve as circuit overseers and are helping brothers and sisters in many congregations. We are grateful when younger people are willing to serve the brothers and sisters.
COOPERATE IN THE FAMILY
12, 13. What can help all in the family to cooperate with one another?
12 How can we help the members of our family to cooperate with one another? Family worship each week can help us. When parents and children spend time together learning about Jehovah, their love for one another grows stronger. During that time, they can practice what they will say in the ministry, which helps all of them to be better prepared. And when they hear one another talk about the truth and see that all in the family love Jehovah and want to please him, they draw even closer together.
When a husband and wife love Jehovah and serve him together, they will be happy and united in their marriage
13 How can a husband and wife cooperate with each other? (Matthew 19:6) When they both love Jehovah and serve him together, they will be happy and united in their marriage. They should also show affection for each other, as Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Elkanah and Hannah did. (Genesis 26:8; 1 Samuel 1:5, 8; 1 Peter 3:5, 6) When a husband and wife do this, they are united with each other and draw closer to Jehovah.
14. If your husband or wife is not serving Jehovah, what can you do to keep your marriage strong?
14 The Bible clearly says that we should not marry someone who does not serve Jehovah. (2 Corinthians 6:14) Yet, there are brothers and sisters who are married to someone who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some learned the truth after they were married, and their mate did not become a Witness. Others may have married a servant of Jehovah, but then their husband or wife left the congregation. In these situations, Christians do all they can to keep their marriage strong by obeying counsel from the Bible. This may not always be easy. For example, Mary and her husband, David, served Jehovah together. Then, David stopped going to meetings. But Mary still tried to be a good wife and show Christian qualities. She also taught her six children about Jehovah and continued to go to meetings and conventions. Years later, when the children grew up and all left home, Mary continued to serve Jehovah even though it was much harder for her. But then, David began reading the magazines that Mary left out for him. In time, he started to go to some meetings again. His six-year-old grandson always saved a seat for him, and if David did not come, the boy would say, “I missed you at the meeting today, Grandpa.” David returned to Jehovah after 25 years, and he and his wife are happy that they now serve Jehovah together again.
15. How can older married ones help younger ones?
15 Satan attacks families today. That is one reason why a husband and wife who serve Jehovah need to cooperate with each other. No matter how long you have been married, think about what you can say or do to strengthen your marriage. If you are an older married couple, you can be a good example to younger couples. Perhaps you can invite a younger couple to join you for family worship. They will see that no matter how long a couple have been married, they must show affection to each other and be united.
“LET US GO UP TO THE MOUNTAIN OF JEHOVAH”
16, 17. What do God’s united servants look forward to?
16 When the Israelites went to their festivals in Jerusalem, they cooperated with one another. They prepared everything they needed for the journey. Then, they traveled together and helped one another. At the temple, they all praised and worshipped Jehovah together. (Luke 2:41-44) Today, as we prepare for life in the new world, we need to be united and do all we can to cooperate with one another. Can you think of ways you can do this even more?
17 People in this world disagree and even fight about many things. But we are thankful that Jehovah has helped us to have peace and to understand the truth! His people around the world are worshipping him in the way that he wants. And especially in these last days, Jehovah’s people are more united than ever. Just as Isaiah and Micah prophesied, we are going up to “the mountain of Jehovah” together. (Isaiah 2:2-4; read Micah 4:2-4.) How happy we will be in the future when all people on earth are “harmoniously joined together” and cooperate with one another to worship Jehovah!