As we pray for our loved ones in the Watchtower, it is my prayer that we focus on their faith and not their flaw. Their faith may be sincere, yet misdirected and therefore flawed indeed. However, I praise God for noticing the offering of every active Jehovah’s Witness who prays and witnesses from a place of faith in HIM for I believe what He sees is far deeper than what we see. God treasures faith.
She was in the wrong religion. The leaders she trusted took her offerings but did not shepherd her through her losses. She had little left to give and yet in her sincerity gave all because she had nowhere else to go. So day after day she spent her faith serving an outdated religion set for the fall. But some had already left it to follow the truth and watched her activities pondering the outcome as her insignificant offering was taken up by the shepherds fleecing their flock.
Stop right there. What is stirring in your heart? Do you run to tell her? Do you rail against her religion and it’s leadership? Do you plead in prayer and ask Jesus to show Himself to her?
Those of us with loved ones trapped in the Watchtower know they’re in a false religion. We see clearly how the word of God has been tampered with to direct worship toward the Governing Body and surrender all to them. We fear that when it’s end comes, our sincere but misdirected friends will be left behind. And so, we react. Whether in prayer, conversation, or activism, we’re reacting to what we’ve observed. Do we run to tell them? Do we protest and expose the leaders? Do we plead in prayer?
What do we do?
While on earth, Jesus claimed to do only what He saw the Father doing.
Wouldn’t that be nice for us too? But it’s not always clear to see what the Father is asking us to do. However, we do have stories preserved for us in the pages of the Bible where we can observe how Jesus reacts. And one story tells of a woman offering her sacrifices to a religion that’s set to end. Sound familiar?
This story takes place at the temple in Jerusalem. I’m sure you’re familiar with it. Jesus is there and watching this woman drop her last coin into the treasury. Apparently the disciples attention is elsewhere since He has to call them to see what He is seeing (Mark 12:43). Knowing the personalities of each disciple, we could guess at what each may have been doing while in earshot of Jesus. Perhaps Peter also noticed her among the many others giving to the treasury but was already preparing to run after them yelling “you’re in the wrong religion, get out! Follow Jesus!” But Jesus bid him to focus on this one woman to see something deeper than the surface error. Maybe John was laying his head on Jesus’ chest softly whispering “Lord, save her” as he focused on her flaw instead of seeing through the lens that Jesus wanted him to see. And perhaps the sons of thunder were at a distance plotting to storm the treasury and overturn the tables themselves! But Jesus called His disciples to Himself because He wanted them to SEE HER.
Likely you find yourself somewhere in this mix.
When it comes to the XJW Community, sometimes we are sons of thunder protesting in kingdom hall parking lots and sharing every Watchtower scandal on social media. Other times we’re directly confronting individual members at their carts or our doors reasoning with them to leave. And some of us are never heard by anyone but Jesus as we pray for their release.
But this is not about our reactions of protests or prayers, it’s about seeing what Jesus sees.
In the familiar story of the widow’s mite, Jesus bids His disciples to observe this woman giving more than she can really afford. Others had given out of their surplus while she gave out of her poverty (Mark 12:41-44). Of course we haven’t missed the point that what God values is different than how men measure riches. But there’s more to this story. As already noted, Jesus had to direct His disciples attention toward HER. They were already at the temple. What were they looking at? For it wasn’t long after this incident that His disciples pointed out the structure from which they’d just come declaring, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” They understood that it takes money to build a place of worship. Religious structures of this world do demand the sacrifices of it’s members. After all, the money and the time have to come from somewhere. And so the disciples may have concluded as many of us have that “every bit counts.” Remembering the widow’s mite has been used to remind us that “many hands make for light work” in giving time we think we can’t afford and offering up our “fish and loaves” that seem insignificant in the amount actually needed. But consider that Jesus is already aware that the old system of worship with all it’s structure was about to be destroyed. He wasn’t encouraging building it up with the widow’s mite. His answer to them was, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.” (Mark 13:1-2)
Even if the Watchtower is about to fall, do you suppose Jesus sees what is offered there in faith?
Jesus observed this old widow invest her last two cents into a structure about to fall and He didn’t stop her. Not only that, He called His disciples to Himself so that they could hear Him deem her action as worthy. As I sat beside Jesus on this one, I asked to see what He sees in the Watchtower and all those sincere but misdirected people. Jesus knows the end of the Watchtower. He sees those who give their money, time, and complete surrender to this religion. And yet He calls us to sit beside Him and observe the faith of those who invest so much of themselves. Have we valued their faith as Jesus has? Or do we only focus on the waste of giving to this dead religion? Have we seen the widow’s faith or her flaw? What did Jesus see?
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name (Hebrews 6:10)
Father, I am thankful that you are not an unjust God but see below the surface of our sin, our misunderstandings, and even our misdirected worship of you. I pray you take my offering of praise even in it’s imperfect form and cleanse it with your holy righteousness knowing the heart of the believer who offered it. As I ask it for myself, I also ask this of everyone for whom I pray. Help me to see each one through your eyes Father. Thank you for the love and the work of those who offer themselves to you in all sincerity. Let love prevail, for when love is there, you are there. Sitting beside Jesus, amen.
Keep yourself in God’s love,