How Much Do You Care About People?
AS YOU observe people around you, what do you see? People enslaved to harmful habits? Couples with serious marital problems? Parents whose children are rebellious? Youths who feel that life is empty and meaningless? Men and women who find it hard to get along with others? Doubtless you see and know people like these. Today there are millions of them. They need help in coping with their problems. Can you help them? Will you?
If you are a dedicated servant of Jehovah, you can aid them greatly. You have learned from your own experience that accurate knowledge of the Bible can help people to solve life’s basic problems. The application of that knowledge has improved your own relationship with others. It has protected you from following a harmful way of life and has made your life purposeful. You have found that being a disciple of Jesus Christ and a devoted witness of Jehovah God means enjoying the best way of life now, and a bright, solid hope for the future.—1 Tim. 4:8.
But how does what you have learned reflect in your attitude and actions toward others? As you see the bad circumstances in which many find themselves, do you feel pity for them? Does your heart move you to do everything you can to acquaint them with God’s Word? If so, you will be devoting as much time as possible in efforts to declare God’s truth.
A TIME OF URGENCY
The time in which we are living makes it urgent for God’s devoted servants to share fully in the work of preaching and disciple-making. These are the “last days” of the present wicked system. (2 Tim. 3:1-5) Only persons having an acceptable standing before Jehovah God as genuine disciples of his Son will survive this system’s end. (Rev. 7:14-17) Before that end comes, Jehovah’s witnesses have the opportunity to share in a lifesaving warning and rescue work. However, the time left for this activity is reduced.—1 Cor. 7:29.
In all rescue work the amount of time available for accomplishing good is limited. During times of disaster, men and women who engage in rescue operations willingly adjust their routine to give precedence to the work. They do not watch the clock to see when they should stop but keep right on going as long as their physical strength holds up and people need help. Are you just as willing to forgo personal pleasures and desires to have the fullest share possible in the most important rescue operation today? Every devoted servant of God should feel impelled to do so. The eternal life, welfare and happiness of fellow humans are at stake.
One of the best ways to give personal aid to people is to call on them at their homes. Whenever and wherever possible, this is what we should want to do regularly. Our doing so demonstrates that our love is not partial, for everyone is given an opportunity to hear. Of course, we do not want to overlook other opportunities in our daily contacts with others to speak about God’s Word. Deep concern for their lasting welfare will impel us to try to make the best use of every opportunity. That is true even of Witnesses with physical limitations that prevent them from sharing in the door-to-door ministry. They, too, can find joy in using their opportunities to declare God’s truth.
Our work, of course, is not simply one of preaching. It includes disciple-making. So when people manifest interest, our love for them should move us to return as soon as possible to build up their appreciation for God’s Word. Even if they are not at home, we should put forth reasonable efforts to find them. Once a weekly home Bible study is established with interested ones, we should strive to teach them, not only what God’s Word says, but also how they can conform their lives to it. In this way we will be building up in them a truly Christian personality.
DO NOT LET UNFAVORABLE RESPONSE SLOW YOU DOWN
When genuine concern for people motivates us to share in the preaching and disciple-making work, unfavorable response will not slow us down. Though people may not listen to us, this does not change the fact that they need help. Their life is in danger.
It should be remembered that when storm and flood warnings are issued, not all people respond. But this does not lessen the importance of such warnings. Similarly, rescue operations are not always successful. However, were those who engaged in them to think that their efforts will likely be in vain, they would not exert themselves to the full. Lives could be lost because time would not be used to the best advantage. Surely, then, in the lifesaving work of preaching and disciple-making there is no reason to be less determined to help people than if a natural disaster were impending or had occurred.
There are reasons why people act the way they do when Jehovah’s witnesses call. Because of what they have experienced in life, they may be suspicious. They may have heard untruths about Jehovah’s witnesses and believed these. Their willingness to accept falsehoods may be due in part to the fact that they, or their relatives or acquaintances, have been taken advantage of by greedy religionists. In view of today’s religious confusion, they may think that Jehovah’s witnesses are no different from members of Christendom’s churches. Hence, our returning again and again to the same homes may eventually convince some that we have their interests at heart, that we care about people. Then, too, things may happen in their lives, or their circumstances may change, prompting them to want our help.
Even if people do not respond to our efforts, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we have done God’s will. Then, when this system does end, the death of individuals cannot be charged to our account. Like the apostle Paul, we will be able to say: “I am clean from the blood of all men.”—Acts 20:26.
JEHOVAH CAN USE YOU
Never should we slow down in our effort to help people because of feeling that others can do this much better. The Lord Jesus Christ commissioned all his followers to preach and make disciples. (Matt. 28:19, 20) So he and his Father can use any of us to help others to become doers of the divine will and begin enjoying the best way of life now. It was never Jehovah’s purpose to use only the wisest and most eloquent men and women to minister to the needs of others. “Not many wise in a fleshly way were called,” says God’s Word.—1 Cor. 1:26.
So the love, concern and sincerity you reflect when speaking to others can accomplish much more than mere eloquent, polished speech. Since Jehovah God wants to use you to help others, you need not worry that your limitations will be a cause for stumbling others. As long as you strive to do your best and rely fully on Jehovah God to help you in aiding others, you will be a fine instrument in his hands. He can use even young children in his service, thereby furnishing praise “out of the mouth of babes and sucklings.”—Matt. 21:16.
Jehovah God, in giving us the opportunity to be his “fellow workers” in helping humanity, shows that he trusts us, that he is confident we will do the assigned work. (1 Cor. 3:9) How so? Well, nowhere in his Word do we read about how much time we should set aside for the preaching and disciple-making work. This is evidently because Jehovah has always wanted his servants to express themselves fully from the heart. He knew that as a group their love for him and for their fellowmen would be strong enough to impel them to do their very best in helping people to find the way of salvation before it is too late. He knew that they would be willing to arrange their affairs, even change their circumstances, to accomplish this. (Ps. 110:3) Jehovah also knew that, in the event that some became neglectful, spiritually qualified men in the congregations of his people would be alert to build up heart appreciation for his service. (1 Pet. 5:2, 3) Does not this confidence of God in his people stir you to spend as much time as possible in the preaching and disciple-making work? Does it not just make you want to prove that as an individual you are deserving of that confidence?
GOD’S NAME IS INVOLVED
God’s holy name is tied up with the preaching and disciple-making work. He has promised not to execute judgment upon the present system until ample warning has been given. Jesus Christ said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) Accordingly, if we as his people were to fail in declaring the “good news” and fail in aiding others to take their stand for the Kingdom so as to survive the end of this system, we would be bringing reproach on God’s name. This is because God could then be blamed for having left mankind without due warning. The position of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses today is just like that of the prophet Ezekiel in ancient times. Ezekiel was told by God: “A watchman is what I have made you to the house of Israel, and you must hear from my mouth speech and you must warn them from me.”—Ezek. 3:17.
Just as Ezekiel of old did not fail in performing his duties as a watchman, Jehovah’s witnesses as a body today will not fail to sound the warning. Individuals, however, may fail because of allowing their love for Jehovah and fellow humans to be crowded out by other affections. So it is important for everyone to consider seriously whether his heart is motivating him aright.
Perhaps you have spent many years in the preaching and disciple-making work. Then you have reason to be more zealous now than ever before. You have enjoyed a meaningful life. You have had precious association with fellow believers. You can see that the evidence is clearer than ever before that this system’s end is at hand. How that should make you want to help others to put themselves in line for survival!
If you have just begun sharing in the preaching and disciple-making work, you also can see the need to exert yourself vigorously. You well remember the problems you had not too long ago and how God’s Word assisted you to begin enjoying the best way of life now. Appreciating the dangerous circumstances you were in so late in this time of the end, you have reason enough to want to help others.
On the other hand, you may just have begun to study God’s Word. In that case you may be starting to see the importance of becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ. We encourage you to keep on putting forth efforts to this end.
May all of us prove that we care deeply about people and that we have genuine love for our God Jehovah by being whole-souled in the preaching and disciple-making work.