Let the People Hear Through Preaching
How important it is to let the people hear through our preaching! With Armageddon drawing on apace, more than ever before it is true that only those who ‘call on the name of Jehovah will be saved.’ But, as the apostle Paul so rightly observes, “How will they call on him in whom they have not put faith? How, in turn, will they put faith in him of whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach?”—Rom. 10:13, 14.*
Clearly, here is stated your commission as dedicated Christians to preach so as to save lives. Because someone else preached, you have been able to get on the road to salvation by calling on the name of Jehovah. Are you now doing all you can so that others may do the same? The apostle Paul certainly did, and he himself urges us to ‘become imitators of him, even as he is of Christ.’—1 Cor. 11:1.
Paul was an outstanding example of zeal in preaching. He made three extensive missionary tours, traveled literally thousands of miles in a day when travel on land was chiefly by foot and travel on sea was by sail, established a number of congregations, participated in the work of the early Christians’ governing body, wrote fourteen letters under inspiration, repeatedly was imprisoned and doubtless finally suffered martyrdom for his faithful preaching. While in most of these respects we could not think of imitating Paul, there are ever so many ways in which we can.—2 Cor. 11:23-33.
For example, Paul became all things to people of all sorts, that he might win some. Once a ruthless persecutor of Christians to the death, he became as gentle as a nursing mother in teaching others. We today likewise want to be gentle and become all things to people of all sorts, meeting people on their own level, and so win them by the good news and not by our personality or learning.—1 Cor. 2:2-5; 9:16-22; 1 Thess. 2:7.
Though Paul was able to preach effectively to learned philosophers and even kings, he did not neglect preaching from “house to house” and wherever he could find people willing to listen. Are we zealously doing the same?—Acts 17:17-34; 20:20; 26:28.
More than that, we read that Paul preached “with boldness,” and that he preached “thoroughly.” (Acts 14:3; 20:21) Are we ever alert to preach with boldness, or do we at times shrink back from an opportunity for incidental witnessing because of the fear of man? And are we thorough in our preaching; among other things, making faithful use of the house-to-house record? One brother, witnessing in a Brooklyn apartment building one Sunday morning last October, on the top floor found only one out of seven families home. Returning on Wednesday evening to call on the not-at-homes, he found five of the six at home and one of these subscribed for the Awake! magazine.
How do we respond to the usual run of objections met at the doors? Do we let them turn us aside or do we give a thorough witness by offering some tactful reply?
There are still other ways in which the apostle Paul set a fine example for us to imitate as we let people hear through our preaching. He worked night and day so as not to become an expensive burden to others, making tents to pay his expenses. More than that, in spite of all the hardships he had to endure, he never grumbled, complained or rebelled. He learned in whatever circumstances he might find himself to be self-sufficient, to be content. Do we avoid needlessly burdening others in one way or another? Have we learned to be self-sufficient, content?—Acts 18:1-4; Phil. 4:11-13; 2 Thess. 3:8.
Let us ever bear in mind as we let the people hear through our preaching that if the people believe the good news, not only will it be a means of their eventually gaining everlasting life, but, even now, by accepting the truth they will gain many blessings; they will find themselves living in a better moral climate, will know greater happiness and contentment, and will find that their relations with others are improving.—Prov. 10:22; Rom. 12:18; 1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Tim. 6:6.
So let us be diligent to let as many people as possible hear through our preaching in the few short remaining years before Armageddon, and to do so in imitation of the apostle Paul!
For details see The Watchtower, February 1, 1966.