Tired of trying to figure out the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s image and what it is supposed to mean—as though wishing he was wearing socks—surly Oxgoad declares, “all has made me forget what I should have been paying attention to over the years, namely goodness, and love, and righteousness, and obedience, and Justice, and mercy, and fairness …. the things Jehovah requires …. and valor, and virtue.”
I know this sounds good. How can one argue with it? But you need a balance. The trouble is, when ones start focusing exclusively on such personality traits as ‘righteousness’, they tend to quickly think they have a lock on the stuff. (It is the same as with those who revel in their ‘critical thinking.’)
There’s nothing wrong with being a student of prophesy, providing one does not become dogmatic over it. I go back to those angels intense peering as to how prophesy will turn out. (1 Peter 1:12) I like to picture them squinting through a knothole in a wooden fence. It’s not for me to kick them in the butt and tell them to get back to work.
A favorite circuit overseer, one long since retired, made an off-the-cuff observation that I had not heard before nor have heard since. He likened theocratic history to time periods during which people oscillated between getting the preaching work done and ‘personality development.’ Wow whee!—the self-righteousness that ensured when they specialized in the latter—I can still see him shaking his head in wonder. Working off a few displeasing personal memories, I suspect in hindsight.
He was the fellow with whom, on a 10 degree day, just the two of us in service, I spent two and a half solid breakless hours doing door-to-door on an endless suburban street. The door may have opened perhaps four or five times all morning, and when it did it might as well have not. I was too thoroughly frozen to speak coherently. It didn't seem to bother him, though.
We’re far less likely to do such things today. I recently did a few doors with another chum, directly after a Sunday meeting, when the weather was rapidly deteriorating. The woman who answered the door said, “Are you guys crazy? What are you doing out in weather like this?” I looked at my companion and said, “You know—she has a point.” Yes, yes—we’re all becoming “more reasonable” today, good in some ways, but to the extent it denotes ‘softer’ maybe not in all.
However, he was also the fearless guy who walked into the neighborhood bar and began engaging half-tanked patrons in conversation. The topic was ‘good government.’ It went well for a while but eventually some became surly. ‘What are you doing here speaking of good government?’ someone groused. ‘What you should be doing is going into city hall, telling all those dirty rotten scoundrels there about good government!’
’Oh, we do, we do,’ Andy replied sweetly. ‘And do you know what they tell us? That we should go into the saloons.’
This was the same circuit overseer who, if people would say they don’t need his spiel but the people down the street surely do, would ask if it was okay if he told those people who it was that had sent him.
****** The bookstore