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Fireside Chats

To my mind there is in every so­ciety a triumvirate: three distinct yet unified individuals whose duty and aim it must be to guarantee the success of each meeting. All three are essential. Perhaps one of the three may have duties of broader scope than the others, but it is essential that they must all work together in a spirit of true and earnest cooperation in order to accomplish the proper end. If I were to name them in order of rank it would be thus: YOU, each individual member, Your officers, and Your Leader.

The leaders must be ever con­scious of the responsibility of their position. They have been called of God to the place they hold and are strictly responsible to Him for the manner in which they execute their office. Their very name char­acterizes them—leaders. They lead, not in the sense that they go on ahead and that we straggle after them, but in the sense that they guide us along the way. Of course, they must be aware that they are guiding covenant youth. Then they will realize that we must always be led along that straight and narrow path and be kept far and away from that broad road of the world. This is true not only of our Bible study periods but also of our social activities and the entire procedure and conduct of our meetings. Theirs is a great responsibility for they must set the course by being themselves, first of all, a brilliant example. No leader may or can expect that the quality of his so­ciety will be greater than the ideal and example which is set before it.

Along the way, these, our leaders, must exercise patience and dili­gence. They should know the so­ciety: its abilities and virtues but also its many shortcomings. So too. they should know the indi­vidual members so that none shall be slighted and all may be given an equal opportunity to express himself freely. Finally, they must also realize that they are only leaders, that is, that we as mem­bers are also present. Although I greatly doubt its existence, there may be an instance in which the leader seeks to monopolize the so­ciety. We all, not only our leaders but each one of us, must remember that a society is a joint project and not an individual enterprise.

To our officers we have delegated the authority of the management of the business of our meetings. We have thus expressed confidence in their particular ability, whether it be as treasurer, secretary, librarian or some other function. They should conduct themselves always conscious of our trust in them, striving to perform their various duties expediently. This does not mean that they should assume a passive attitude towards their duties but let them be happy for the honor accorded them. Their tasks should be a pleasure both for themselves and for the societies. It is just as easy for the treasurer to make the collection and expendi­ture of monies a pleasant pro­cedure as to do so grudgingly. Ex­actness and honesty, of course, are his sterling qualities. The secre­tary should write concise and inter­esting minutes which otherwise may soon become so boring. If it is his duty to hand out the Beacon Lights, it should be a welcome obli­gation. Be anxious to see that each member gets a copy promptly, feel­ing as though you were really giv­ing something worthwhile, which you are. Be pleasant about your duties.

Finally, we come to YOU: the first ranking factor of any society. After all, the society, even though it may not have been organized by you, certainly was organized for you. It is your society. Each individual should feel this person­ally and consciously. It does not belong to and is not run by your officers or leaders or perhaps some smart (?) clique. It is yours indi­vidually as a cooperating unit to make it a whole joint project. Knowing this, you will all, of course, assume a personal interest in its welfare. You must.

The group is made up, naturally, of various individuals. Individuals are the components of any group; happily so. Even though we must remain as individuals, we must all do our best. Every one doing his part to make the joint enterprise, a success from every angle. This includes our Bible study, our after­-recess program and any project which the society as a whole may sponsor. Perhaps you may object that you do not have the ability; that there are others who are “greater”, who know so much more. Nevertheless, once again remember it is also YOUR society. You. too, have your particular tal­ents and gifts, as does everyone in God’s kingdom, from the smallest to the greatest. Remember, too, that those who so often appear to be great to us, may be the smallest, and those who are of no account, the greatest in the spiritual king­dom.

If you are shy or timid, you should exercise yourself to express whatever you may have to say, no matter how insignificant it may seem. The more general a discus­sion becomes, the more lively your society will be. Although you may have heard hundreds of times the expression “the more you put into a thing the more you will get out of it”, it certainly is the truth, and is worthy of repetition here also.

The first essential, of course, is that you are thoroughly prepared. This will build your confidence, which is of primary importance, if you are to enter into the discussion. If then you still feel too shy to talk determine before each meeting to say something. Perhaps you might prepare a few questions which you could ask, or pick out a point and, if necessary, memorize a statement or two, which you will present. After a few times you will find that it will become easier, and your pleasure will increase greatly.

On the other hand, there may be those who have no trouble at all to speak. In fact, they may call for the floor incessantly. A word of warning is in order—don’t be overbearing. Give everyone a chance. Think and act kindly to­wards those who may be a bit more hesitant. Encourage them in their endeavors, and above all refrain from rebuking them too sharply. A kindly word of re­proof, if something is said that is perhaps a little off the line, is much more effective than a sharp tongue. No one should monopolize the discussion! Let’s all do our part in the proper manner.

Beacon Lights is here to help you all. Use it! Let it be your guide in preparation for Bible discussion. Become instructed from the many worthwhile and educational de­partments and features by a care­ful perusal of the entire paper. The variety of the contents of Bea­con Lights is purposed not only to make it universal in appeal and interest, but to broaden the minds of its readers. Thus, you will gain confidence in preparation for your Society not only but also in your social contacts.

Let’s all cooperate to make each society an integral part of our lives. Do your bit to make your group one that your leader delights to guide; that your officers are happy to serve and that you won’t want to miss. Above all strive to make it an organization upon which God may send His blessing. We must conduct ourselves in all things as worthy of our high calling. God must be pre-eminent in our lives both as old and young. So doing, we may be assured of His careful guidance and richest blessings.

Perhaps you have read all this and found nothing that appeals to you, whether you are young or old, because you do not attend any so­ciety. Because membership is vol­untary I can only suggest a few things to you. Remember that God has also established Societies to be used as means to study His Word and enjoy Christian fellowship. Especially in our day we must be “thoroughly equipped”. We cer­tainly must take advantage of every opportunity we have to increase and strengthen our armor. By all means, if at all possible, also use your society to this end. It was organized for you. The benefits you will derive are too numerous to include here. Essentially it means that you will grow in the knowledge of God and of His king­dom and that you will realize the fellowship of God’s people as they “seek the things above”. Your join­ing a society should be an indica­tion of the incentive that caused David to sing: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go unto the house of Jehovah”.