They Feel the Urgency
“THRILLING, absolutely thrilling!” “Now I can imagine what Pentecost 33 C.E. must have been like!” “Something we have been looking for for years!” “The end of this system of things is very, very close, and we all know it!” Thus have some observers at the Brooklyn headquarters of Jehovah’s witnesses expressed themselves. About what? About the recent increases in the activity of their fellow Witnesses in every part of the earth. God’s servants everywhere keenly feel the spirit of urgency that is now surging throughout their ranks in this most momentous time in man’s history.
It seems that suddenly in every part of the earth people are awakening to the crucial and terrifying problems plaguing this generation and many realize that only God can solve them. They want to know what his Word says. As a result persons who never would take the time to read the Bible-study literature of Jehovah’s witnesses are reading it now, and thousands more are attending their meetings.
Among the factors that have contributed to the great forward movement in the preaching work are the books Did Man Get Here by Evolution or by Creation? and The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life. These exciting and practical Bible-study aids have helped to speed up the work of Jehovah’s witnesses. However, the main force inspiring their increased activity is God’s spirit. By his dynamic holy spirit, Jehovah is making his servants aware of the urgency of the times and they are responding by devoting more time and effort to his work. Yes, Jehovah God is now urging his people to go forward as never before. And go forward they do!
REPORTS SHOW THEY FEEL THE URGENCY
How truly joyful it is to read the happifying reports of the increase of Witnesses in various parts of the world! For example, there were only 10,070 Witnesses in the entire continent of Africa in 1942; today, over 180,000 are declaring the good news of God’s kingdom there. In Asia, in 1942, there were only 406 Witnesses, and now 21,698 bear witness to their faith in this area. In 1942 Europe had only 22,796, but today 387,147 Witnesses preach there. The various islands in the Pacific, Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean had only about 5,500 Witnesses in 1942. Today these islands have over 113,000 ministers of Jehovah God. In 1942, North America and South America saw only about 76,000 Witnesses preaching; presently well over 500,000 Witnesses represent God’s kingdom there. This increase has not stopped, for in the first month of the new service year twenty-four of the ninety-four branches of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in various parts of the earth reported further increases in the number of Jehovah’s witnesses in the lands they look after.
Though Jehovah’s witnesses enjoyed a 5.6-percent increase in the number of ministers last year, the phenomenal rise in the number of hours that they spent in preaching demonstrates how deeply they feel the urgency of God’s work. Consider the astounding fact that they devoted 208,666,762 hours in the preaching work during the past year. This is close to 25 million more hours than the year before. This is not only because more were out in the field ministry! Nor are they being paid to preach! As one woman in the Falkland Islands exclaimed after seeing the crowds of Witnesses in photographic slides of their conventions, “No organization could ever pay that many people.” Then what explains it? The spirit of wanting to do all they can in the short time remaining is moving them to augment their activity.—Ps. 110:3.
Desiring to spend their time in the most vital work in this day and age, last year Jehovah’s witnesses made 89,903,578 return visits on individuals who wanted to know more about the Bible. This is over 23 million more return visits than the preceding year. And consider the 977,503 Bible studies they conducted each week, free of charge. This is 110,494 more than the previous year. Who could not help but be caught up in this contagious spirit of doing more than the usual in these perilous times!
EXPANDED MINISTRY OF MANY WHO FEEL THE URGENCY
One of the most outstanding proofs of the growing sense of urgency among God’s people is the number of persons who arranged their affairs to spend their full time in the preaching work regularly or for a vacation period. This past year over 10,000 more than during the preceding year enthusiastically took up this work. This meant many sacrifices for mothers, fathers, young ones and older folks.
In Cuba, where Jehovah’s witnesses are forced to preach under great difficulty due to persecution, one father, for example, averages 154 hours in the preaching work each month. According to his personal records, he spoke to 408 persons about God’s kingdom last April. All this in addition to caring for a family of five. On the other side of the world, in Indonesia, another Witness who has a wife and five children to look after spends his vacation time preaching.
Thousands and thousands of others arranged their affairs to be able to devote more time to God’s work. One was a man in his fifties who went to preach in an isolated region in Réunion. His wife and two companions, one sixty-seven years old and the other fifteen years old, went with him. On foot the four of them journeyed into this section where there is no road. With a knapsack on his back, a suitcase in one hand and a large briefcase full of Bible literature in the other, they walked up a riverbed for six miles, fording the river fourteen times. They spoke to everyone they met. The entire journey required about one hundred miles of walking. Though they returned home very tired physically, they were spiritually refreshed beyond measure because they had responded to the urgent need to declare the “good news.”
Consider the young ones who are responding to the energizing spirit of God that is encouraging increased activity. In Fiji, three youngsters, aged fourteen, twelve and ten, hurry back to school after lunch in order to witness to those children who are interested in learning more about the Bible. The result of their loving concern for their classmates is that they regularly conduct two Bible studies each. Oh, yes, their eight-year-old brother too conducts a Bible study of his own. Their mother conducts four, and their father conducts seven. Thus this family conducts a total of eighteen studies. What joyous enthusiasm!
Such loving determination to search out ones who are interested in the Bible can be seen in the Witness in Austria who met an interested individual on the bus. Not having her address, the Witness returned to her village four times to find her. Finally she found the woman and began studying the Bible with her. In Mexico a sweeper in a factory also talks about the Bible. He approached the engineer where he works and spoke to him about the Bible’s truth. Today the engineer is one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Picture in your mind the zealous Witness in Germany who is paralyzed from the hips down and is confined to a wheelchair. On the streets he talks to all who are willing to stop and listen. He writes letters explaining the Bible’s truth and conducts Bible studies in his home. Behind the Iron Curtain, too, thousands of Witnesses preach in parks, while waiting for buses and in doctors’ waiting rooms and at every other opportune moment. Everywhere God’s praises are resounding, and many are joining in the chorus.
The 1969 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses is filled with their experiences. In reading it one senses that the spirit of wanting to do more is sweeping through God’s organization as never before. Obviously Jehovah’s witnesses realize that this preaching work that is being done today will never be repeated; that their opportunity to engage in it is to be taken advantage of now and not to be postponed. They sense that great things lie ahead of them in the immediate future. Yes, they will see the remainder of God’s prophecies about these “last days” fulfilled before their very eyes. Down through the years Jehovah has been preparing his organization to care for the crowd of persons that are now coming into it. He has strengthened it to care for their spiritual needs. Would you like to associate with this society of Christian ministers and assist in this great preaching work? Why not seek them out?—Gal. 6:10.
Those who respond to the influence of God’s spirit today will in the future look back with joy and no regret. How inexpressibly happy they will be in knowing that they helped others to gain eternal life in God’s new order! Yes, those who feel the urgency and work in harmony with it will be rewarded with marvelous blessings.