Turning from a Lucrative Business
DOES earning $500 to $700 a day, seven days a week, sound inviting? What would ever cause a man to leave such a lucrative business and take up employment as a janitor?
At a district assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses in Shreveport, Louisiana, a man related how and why he made such a change. He explained:
‘I was raised in an environment of crime. Even as a child in school I led a gang of youths and we would threaten fellow students with a beating in order to force them to give us their lunch money.
‘As I grew up, two of my older brothers were in the janitorial business. One of them came in contact with Jehovah’s witnesses and after studying the Bible became a Witness himself. And he helped my other brother who was in the same work to become a Witness. My third brother, though, was a racketeer and professional criminal. It was in his footsteps that I followed.
‘Two of us became involved in peddling narcotics. By selling heroin I was earning $500 to $700 a day, seven days a week. To me money was no object. Sometimes I approached one of my brothers who was a Witness and offered him money, flashing one-hundred-dollar bills. He steadfastly refused to accept any of it because of knowing its source. Similarly, he declined food and clothing that I offered him for his large family.
‘In 1954 my older brother and I were arrested and sentenced to prison for selling narcotics. Though still not personally interested in what my two brothers called “the truth,” I got interested in the Bible in prison. This was because all that the inmates liked to talk about was politics and religion. So as to win arguments on religion, I wrote to one of my brothers asking for some literature. He visited me personally and brought along a book with Bible verses arranged according to certain major topics. I started to win arguments with ease. My two brothers who were Witnesses began visiting me every week and teaching me more about the Scriptures.
‘Upon my release from federal prison in 1956 I realized the hypocrisy and lack of love in the world. So I began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses and attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall. My former acquaintances, drug addicts, were puzzled over my course. At times I shared in the field ministry with Jehovah’s witnesses, even standing on street corners advertising The Watchtower and Awake! Some drug addicts drove past who knew me before and then they circled the block twice and three times to make sure who it was. Showing that they still did not believe I had changed, they approached me to purchase drugs, thinking that this was just another “front” to sell more heroin. Needless to say, they went away even more puzzled.
‘In time I, too, became one of Jehovah’s witnesses. I took up the vocation of my two brothers, doing janitorial work. This business is not nearly as lucrative as the one I used to have, but it has brought real satisfaction, for I can support my family and have had the privilege of serving as the presiding minister in the local congregation.’
Thus he has turned from the financially lucrative drug business in order to ‘treasure up for himself a fine foundation for the future, in order that he may get a firm hold on the real life.’—1 Tim. 6:19.