Just wanted to share one of those witness to witness emails with all you apostates.
The following report was sent to me by a very close personal
friend who lives in Durban, South Africa and who wanted to share notes
from a special talk held there two days ago. I believe you will find the
information (even in brief notes) extremely helpful in a spiritual way.
Perhaps you know some in your own circle who would benefit from the
comments about our young ones and the direction they may need.
Your Christian Brother,
Meeting of member of Governing Body yesterday attended by over 9,100 at
Roodepoort Athletic Stadium. South Africa
Sunday 22 January 2006 Special Talk By Brother David Splane of the
Governing Body at Roodepoort Stadium
Background to David Splane: David Splane started pioneering in September
1963. A graduate of the 42nd class of Gilead (in 1966), he served as a
missionary in Senegal, Africa, then for 19 years in the circuit work in
Canada. He and his wife, Linda, have been at Bethel in the United States
since 1990, where Brother Splane has worked in the Service and Writing
departments. Since 1998, he had been a helper to the Writing Committee.
He was appointed to the Governing Body in October 1999.
(See Watchtower of January 1, 2000, page 29)
9:30am Welcome by Pieter de Heer (SA Branch Committee) Song 2 and opening
prayer by John Mnisi of the Bethel family
9:40am Watchtower Summary by Martin le Roux; translated into Sesotho by
10:20am Song 47 & Announcements
10:30am Special Talk: “Should You Wear Saul’s Armor?” by David Splane;
translated into Zulu by Arthur Bhengu.
Introduction: During the last few months various countries of Africa have
been visited; they, along with the Governing Body send their love and
greetings to all here in attendance. In the Congo not all congregations
can be reached by road. Depots are established and brothers on bicycles
from the congregations come to fetch the literature. So, congregations
only get as much literature for placement as the elder can carry on his
head while he rides the bicycle home. Congo (DRC) has the fourth largest
Memorial attendance in the world (777,460 in 2005) and this is despite
all the difficulties they face. One congregation reported 1,050 in
attendance; they held three Memorials with over 300 each attending. The
branch even wrote back to them since they were skeptical about the total,
thinking it to be 105! The rest of the countries of Africa don’t have the
‘luxuries’ of South Africa. Brothers face many economical and political
problems eg in Togo recently the borders were closed for a while. How
wonderful to see the love between the locals and the missionaries and to
see that we’re part of a beautiful international brotherhood.
Saul was a very big man. A handsome man, standing head and shoulders
taller than all others of his nation. Eliab was another physically
imposing man. Eliab’s appearance and the height of his stature so
impressed Samuel that he concluded this one was God’s choice for the
kingship. Jehovah, though, had rejected Eliab. When Goliath tempted the
nation of Israel then perhaps Saul and Eliab should have gone up against
him. 1 Sam 17:4 describes the size of Goliath (about 3m in height). 1 Sam
17:5 describes him as having a helmet of copper and a coat of mail. (His
copper coat of mail weighed 5,000 shekels or 57 kg; see Insight volume 1
page 984.) Goliath had an interesting tactic: for 40 days he went back
and forth to Israel’s camp (all could see his strength). 1 Sam 17:8 shows
how Goliath challenged the Israelites: “Then he stood still and began to
call to the battle lines of Israel and say to them: “Why do YOU come out
to draw up in battle formation? Am I not the Philistine and YOU servants
belonging to Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to
me.” His goal? Intimidation (basically: “look we’re strong and you’re
weak.”) What about Saul and Eliab, these two strong and imposing men?
They were big cowards despite their size. No one wanted to take on
Goliath. David was shocked that Goliath threatened Jehovah’s people. 1
17:33 Saul told David: “You are but a boy!” No one else volunteered to
take on Goliath, so Saul agreed that David go up against him. 1 Sam
17:38 shows that Saul gave David his suit of armor to try for use against
Goliath. Saul put his own copper helmet on David. That huge helmet must
have slipped down passed his nose and ears! David couldn’t wear Saul’s
armor. Did David need the armor? If that was all that was needed to win
against Goliath, then Saul or Eliab could have used their own armor
against Goliath. Clearly, it was not enough. David decided to try
something he was comfortable with. In 1 Sam 17:40 it says he chose five
smooth stones and a slingshot. Think: Who tries to go up against a giant
with a slingshot? 1 Sam 17:42 shows that Goliath despised David for his
attack: “Now when the Philistine looked and saw David, he began despising
him because he proved to be a boy and ruddy, of beautiful appearance.”
Goliath didn’t see David’s secret weapon! This weapon was the ‘name of
Jehovah.’ (1 Sam 17:45) Saul and Eliab had also not realized this. Saul
was right (verse 33) in that David could not fight Goliath alone-Jehovah
of armies had to be there to back him.
Why is this discussion of David and Goliath good for us today? We all
have ‘giants’ to face. We will never overcome these giants with the help
of worldly things. Don’t rely on Saul’s armor! We can say that Saul’s
armor is seeking the protection of the world and its means. Are you sure
that worldly wisdom cannot solve our struggle with giants? Let’s look at
three giants that we face and notice how the world’s wisdom does not
 Economic giant: Thousands of our brothers face the giant of economic
problems. The world keeps them working long hours. Parents want the best
for their children. Do we use Saul’s armor or do we follow Jehovah’s way?
The world says the answer is higher education. Some spend four, six, or
even eight years pursuing the world’s higher education. The result: They
are effectively cut off from Jehovah’s organization and congregation for
that time period. Back in 1992 Jehovah’s organization published some
direction. (Watchtower of November 1, 1992) Interesting article on
education. The point was that we should have a balanced view of
education. Interestingly, the words “higher education” never once
appeared in that article; it used a term “supplementary” education. This
means a short course of perhaps a few months, or even a year, or maybe a
little longer, in order to adequately take care of their needs. Do we see
the wisdom of that counsel? Today, millions of university graduates are
without work. In Paris it’s said that one can’t find a plumber-yes, many
have computer science degrees, but when the pipes burst a computer
science degree doesn’t fix them!
Remember, David chose five smooth stones. What is the point? Read Matthew
6:33: “Keep on seeking first the Kingdom…” Notice, the word “first” is
used. This is our priority in life. If we don’t put the Kingdom first
Jehovah will let us do it. That’s our choice. But, if we put the Kingdom
first then we’ll have Jehovah’s blessing. A balanced, simple life is what
we strive for. 1 Tim 6:8 says to ALL of us, not just pioneers and
Bethelites, that we should be content with sustenance and covering. Being
content with such will help us cut down that economic giant to size.
Jehovah will sustain us at the right ‘level’-it’s not our decision as to
the level he will sustain us. Parents may be ‘intimidated’ by what other
kids have. But, what do we mean by ‘adequate provision’? Deut 2:7
describes what happened to Israel as they went through the wilderness.
Jehovah blessed them and “you have not lacked a thing.” Jehovah supported
them. What did they eat? Manna, morning noon and night and even for a
midnight snack. (Just think of your favorite food. Sometimes we say we
love it so much we could live on it for a month. What about 40 years like
the Israelites?) Yet, the Bible account says they lacked not a thing!
This is Jehovah’s view of material things. We’ve all eaten this morning
and we all have clothes on today. How much education was needed for you
to have these things? The secret is to learn to live within your means.
But, you may reason: “What if I have a family now to raise?” Will Jehovah
look after you? What if we think he won’t? Just imagine what we’re really
saying: We tell Jehovah that if we serve him (eg pioneering, Bethel) for
five or ten years, then he can’t care for us if need to find work! But
pioneers have a secret weapon: in the name of Jehovah of armies.
Experience: A couple had been at Bethel for 18 years. The wife fell
pregnant and the husband only had his 12 years of high school education
behind him. What does he do now? He now works for a company that only
hires people with university degrees. And our brother is the one who
decides who of them is hired and fired!
Are such things impossible? Jehovah just loves things that are
‘impossible.’ It gives him an opportunity to show how he can help.
Worldly companies do nothing for you. Perhaps you work many nights
overtime or over weekends. When the company scales down, don’t expect
that loyalty back from them. Jehovah, however, will always remain loyal
to us and will never abandon us.
 Peer pressure giant: It’s not always easy for young ones to stand up
for Jehovah. The temptation to blend in as best as possible is great. 1
17:9 gives that taunt of Goliath. What is the lesson? Read it again. What
does it say? If you don’t fight the giant you become a slave of the giant
(the world). We need the complete suit of armor from God. Eph 6:11 says
to put on the complete suit of armor… and to stand firm against
machinations of the Devil. Need to make a firm stand against the world
and we can do this with the help of the suit of armor. Don’t be afraid to
represent Jehovah’s name at school.
Experience: Jason (17) was a typical teenager. He loved Jehovah, but he
was shy. One day he encountered Monica from his school (most popular girl
in the school and very talkative) in the magazine work on Saturday
morning. He knew that on Monday the school would know that he was there
at her house with the Watchtower and Awake! He considered his options (be
sick for a week; grow a mustache and move to Mexico), but decided to
confront the ‘giant’ and prepared himself for the big teasing on Monday
morning. Sure enough, one of the boys come up to him to ask him about it.
What did Jason say? “Yes, I was there, and I don’t appreciate your tone;
I’m going to get your address and come to your house next week!” He
overcame his ‘giant’ of peer pressure!
Experience: Lesley (12) was tired of waiting for the kids at the
beginning of the year to find out that she was a Jehovah’s Witness, so
she decided that on the first day she’d sort it out. She asked the
teacher if anyone had told her she was a Witness. The teacher said ‘no’
and Lesley asked if she had any questions about the Witnesses. The
teacher had none, but later asked Lesley to come to her house to answer
some questions she had- condition: No adults. Lesley studied with her
teacher for a year. Later she came to the hall, and asked for an adult to
complete her study with her. The final result: three teachers and two
secretaries are all now Witnesses because of Lesley’s preaching-she
overcame the ‘giant’ of peer pressure.
Parents: Help your children to defend themselves. Make sure that your
children do personal study and attend all the meetings. Don’t let them
miss meetings for school homework, etc. Meeting attendance and field
service are not an option. Some parents are reluctant to insist that
their children go; they say that they prefer that it comes from the
child’s heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart is more treacherous than
anything else. Can you allow your child’s heart to move them? No, they
need your direction.
Make sure you take them to the meetings and that you go, no matter how
tired you may be. Eg. Governing Body meetings on a Wednesday and many
letters might need to be sent to branches afterward. They also have their
(David and Linda Splane) School and Service Meeting on a Wednesday. Many
times would rather stay at home, but after the meeting they are refreshed
and even want to go out for coffee afterwards. Is it reasonable to allow
children to allow children to decide on such matters as important as
their spiritual welfare? Consider if your child started a temporary job
at McDonald’s. On the first morning you wake him up and he says he’s too
tired to go to work or he has other things to do. Would you call the
manager and say that in your household you prefer to have the children’s
own heart move them to do something and that you’re sure that after
working on him for a while he’d be ready to go to work out of his own?
What would the manager do? He’d get someone else! So, what would you
rather do? You’d tell him to get up, get dressed, and get to work! So,
why don’t you do that with spiritual things?
 Ourselves: Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy. We become our own
giant. True, many did not grow up in an ideal family situation. Some may
be tormented by their past. (It’s like a little voice in your ear saying:
You’re no good!) But who really wants to destroy our self-respect? Satan
wants this. Satan wants everything of Jehovah’s to be destroyed. We are
Jehovah’s creation; he wants us to die. Jehovah made the earth-Satan
teaches that it will be burnt up. Jehovah instituted marriage-Satan says
you don’t have to get married; you can just live together. If you accuse
yourself then you’re doing the Devil’s work.
Ahaz was 11 when he had his first son. He had absolutely no experience as
a parent. Hezekiah (Ahaz’s son) got passed that terrible childhood and
served Jehovah. (His father had sacrificed some of Hezekiah’s brothers.)
He didn’t use it as an excuse. He didn’t turn out like his father-you’re
not condemned to repeat the mistakes of your parents.
The world turns to psychiatrists to help them cope with problems. But you
have a secret weapon (unknown to the world’s psychiatrists)-the name of
Jehovah. We have something in addition to what the world offers-
Jehovah’s support. Remember, we’re not saying that if you’re suffering
mentally you cannot seek medical assistance. But, remember, that we
control what we allow our minds to dwell on. Phil 4:6-8 shows that the
peace of God will excel all thought… if we allow it to. Learn to allow
that peace to excel your thoughts. Phil 4:6 says we’re not to be anxious
over anything. No problem is unsolvable; some will be solved now and
other problems will only be solved in the new world. Paul said that if
we’re anxious we should pray. Remember, though, when praying to include
thanksgiving and to count your blessings. Pray too for wisdom so that you
can make good decisions. Phil 4:8 continues to list the things we need to
consider: “…whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious
concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste,
whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever
virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is…” Allow your
thoughts to dwell on these things and remain positive.
Conclusion: We all face many problems. We even face an enemy greater than
Goliath-Satan’s world. We need to put on, not Saul’s armor, but the
complete suit of armor. Don’t allow the enemy to intimidate us. Remember,
you have a secret weapon (the name of Jehovah) with which to ward off the
attacks and intimidations of Satan. Stand firm at school and at work.
Never allow Satan a way in. Never think you must adopt the world’s
standards and methods. Put on the complete suit of armor and keep it on.
Don’t wear Saul’s armor. May Jehovah bless your efforts as you serve him
12:00pm Attendance was 9,134 (9,048 and 86 at Sign Language); send
greetings to Brooklyn Bethel and the Governing Body.
12:10pm Song 212
Concluding prayer by David Splane
[Congregations that were invited to this special meeting: Those with
Bethelites; expected 8,000.]