Putting First the Preaching of the Good News
WHAT is this good news that “must first be preached to all nations”?* Is it the good news that “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life”? No question about that being good news, and Christians have for many years been making it known in obedience to Jesus’ parting commission: “Go . . . make disciples of people of all the nations, . . . teaching them.”—Mark 13:10, RS; John 3:16; Matt. 28:19, 20.
However, from the context of Mark 13:10 it is apparent that Jesus had in mind a special kind of good news. How so? In that he stated that the preaching of this good news was part of the great sign indicating his presence and the nearness of the end of this system of things. It has been in particular since 1919 that this good news has been preached. This good news tells the people that God’s kingdom has been established in the heavens, that Satan has been cast out of heaven, that God’s war of Armageddon is near, that soon the blessings of God’s kingdom will make this earth into a paradise and that then even the dead in the memorial tombs will arise.
By foretelling that this good news of the established kingdom must first be preached, Jesus indicated urgency. And so Jehovah’s witnesses must be urgent about preaching the good news, for the remaining time is reduced. Satan is working hard, for he knows that he has but a short period of time left. (Rev. 12:12) How much more so should Jesus’ true followers be working extra hard, since they too know that the time left for preaching this good news of the Kingdom is getting ever shorter! It is not reasonable to expect that present favorable conditions for preaching the good news will continue indefinitely. Besides, did not Jesus say that this generation will not pass away until all things are fulfilled? A generation, according to Psalm 90:10, is from seventy to eighty years. The generation that witnessed the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 does not have many more years left.—Luke 21:24, 32-36.
Jesus counseled, “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness.” (Matt. 6:33) That includes putting first in our lives the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. Are we doing that? Or are we doing what Jesus told us not to do, giving anxious thought to what we shall eat, drink and wear and just what kind of house we shall live in? There are many fine material things, but the more of these things we acquire, and the finer they are, the more of our time will be taken up, not only in providing and caring for them, but also in enjoying them. Underscoring the vanity of materialistic pursuits is the TV interview had late in September in which a former boxing champion told that he had earned a million dollars by boxing but had lost all of it, but now was happier than ever before, because of having God’s truth. We cannot escape it, putting first the preaching of the good news is certain to result in happiness, for is it not giving? And “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—Acts 20:35.
Could you be putting first the preaching of the good news by going to where more preachers of the good news are needed? Give it serious thought. Many are doing so in response to the call for such help. However, no doubt there is still work to be done no matter where you may happen to live. A stranger who happened onto one of the Danish conventions of Jehovah’s witnesses and who remained to listen to the public lecture, “Man’s Rule About to Give Way to God’s Rule,” was astounded. She had never heard anything like it, and yet she lived in a section that is being thoroughly covered by the Witnesses in their house-to-house ministry. By being careful to give the Kingdom witness to everyone in your territory, using the House-to-House Record to be sure that none are missed, you yourself might find such a person.
Yes, undoubtedly there are still sheeplike ones to be found, even in territories where preaching has been done time and time again. Keep putting first in your life the preaching of the good news while you have the time and freedom to do so!
For details see The Watchtower, December 15, 1967.