God Wants People to Live
JEHOVAH GOD views human life as something precious. The fact that he has not yet executed judgment against ungodly mankind proves this. Wrote the inspired apostle Peter: “He is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.”—2 Pet. 3:9.
Jehovah’s high regard for human life is not limited to his wanting mankind to survive the expression of his righteous judgment. It is his desire that people enjoy as long a life as possible despite their weaknesses and imperfections. His Word, the Bible, provides guidelines that, when followed, prevent one from pursuing a course of life leading to a premature death. For example, the person who strives to live in harmony with the Bible’s counsel is shielded from the sad consequences of drug addiction, alcoholism, venereal disease and the like. The words of Proverbs 3:1, 2 show that the above would certainly apply: “My son, my law do not forget, and my commandments may your heart observe, because length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you.”
The fact that knowing and applying God’s Word can mean life to people both now and in the future makes it urgent that no effort be spared in getting this information to them. Surely we servants of Jehovah God should be even more concerned, for example, than were those persons who devoted their lives in the fight against disease. Upon making a discovery that could contribute to the lengthening of life, dedicated men and women did not keep this knowledge to themselves. Many wrote down their findings and argued their case in the face of stiff opposition. Convinced supporters provided moral and financial backing. In certain cases the opposition was so unreasonable that sound conclusions were rejected for years. But, through perseverance, the truth finally won out. The findings were in time widely publicized, and since then many people have been saved from a premature death. The discoverer of a particular treatment and his supporters may have made great sacrifices and yet may not even have had the joy of seeing truth triumph in their lifetime. But was not what they did worth the effort, considering the added years of life that many thousands have gained as a result? How much more valuable, then, is the work of aiding persons to gain spiritual health with the prospect of having everlasting life?
A WORK OF TRUE VALUE
True, there have been indifference and opposition on the part of many whom Jehovah’s witnesses have called on at their homes. But are we not happy that from September 1, 1974, to August 31, 1975, over 295,000 persons were helped to repentance and became baptized disciples of Jesus Christ? These thousands may be among those who will survive the execution of God’s judgment and gain, not just a few more years of life, but unending life in God’s righteous new order. (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 7:14-17) Meanwhile, their conforming to God’s Word is enabling them to avoid the snares that could lead to a premature death.
Surely the person who begins living in harmony with the Bible today is better off than the one who starts doing so tomorrow or next week or next month. Without an accurate knowledge of God’s Word, a person could make a serious mistake that might leave a permanent scar. This is evident from the fact that at times just one Biblical conversation has been enough to save a person from suicide. The work of spreading Bible truth is indeed urgent. We do not know how long any individual may live or just exactly when God’s judgment against the ungodly will be executed. However, one thing is certain: Each day that passes brings billions of people closer to death. Can they be helped before it is too late or before they make some tragic mistake?
Jehovah God has given his servants the opportunity to demonstrate their genuine concern for people, proving that they feel just as he does about helping as many as possible to attain to repentance. (Acts 3:19) Certainly we do not want to find some excuse for not taking our responsibility toward the world of mankind very seriously. (Matt. 28:19, 20) No one should think: ‘The work of preaching and teaching Bible truth is not so important. In the final analysis, God is going to see to it that all the sheep are located.’ Such reasoning betrays a lack of personal concern for those in grave danger because of their not knowing God. (2 Thess. 1:6-10) It is really an evidence of lack of love and reveals that there is something defective about one’s own relationship with the Most High.—1 John 5:2, 3.
If you are a servant of Jehovah God, do you feel that no sacrifice is too great to get life-preserving information into the hands of people? Are you alert to use every opportunity to speak about God’s Word to relatives, friends, acquaintances and others whom you meet in your daily activities? Do your words and deeds show that you firmly believe that God wants people to live?
Many, besides persons whom you know or with whom you might have contact, urgently need Bible knowledge. Experience has shown that in these modern times one of the best ways to reach people is to call on them at their homes. Are you setting aside time for this? In the book of Revelation, God’s provision for life is spoken of symbolically as a river with tree-lined banks. The trees are described as “producing twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month.” (Rev. 22:1, 2) In harmony therewith, would it not be most appropriate to share every month in acquainting people with the Bible’s life-giving message?
ORGANIZED FOR PUBLIC PREACHING
The congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses, therefore, are acting in accord with God’s will when they divide certain areas into “territories” and make specific arrangements to call at all the homes in these territories, doing so progressively and periodically during the course of the year.—Compare 1 Corinthians 14:33.
So that the public proclamation of Bible truth might proceed well, good and orderly arrangements are required. At their periodic meetings, congregational elders do well to consider whether they are giving needed attention to these arrangements. Are they themselves setting a zealous example in sharing Bible truth with others? Do their words and actions show that they firmly believe that Jehovah God wants people to live? Have they worked things out in such a way that they are actively sharing with groups, according to their opportunities, in public preaching and teaching?
Elders, of course, must be balanced about their congregational and family responsibilities. (1 Tim. 3:2, 4) Some of them may be able to support nearly every arrangement for groups to meet and share in public preaching and teaching. But others may be prevented by circumstances from doing this. Recognizing the importance of the Bible’s message, elders would surely want to make the best use of their available time to join with fellow believers in imparting Bible truths to others. (Eph. 4:11, 12) They know that failure on their part to provide good leadership could be very discouraging to the congregation.
Furthermore, members of the congregation need to be taught how they can help others to appreciate the value of the Bible and the importance of serving God as loyal disciples of Jesus Christ. When elders take their responsibility as shepherds and teachers seriously, they gladly provide aid by word and example. (Heb. 13:7) They also invite other qualified persons to give assistance.
All devoted servants of Jehovah God should remind themselves of the importance of sharing in preaching and teaching what the Bible says. Ask yourself: Where would I be today if Jesus Christ had given up because of the unresponsiveness of many of his fellow countrymen or for some other reason? None of us would then have had the opportunity of gaining endless life. How glad we are that Jesus Christ remained faithful to his commission!—John 17:6-8; Heb. 3:6.
Is it not a fine thing for us to think about our wanting people whom we meet to be with us in God’s new order? Regardless of how they might act, we should not lose sight of the fact that Christ died for them and that Jehovah God wants them to “come to an accurate knowledge of truth” and live. (1 Tim. 2:3, 4) Developments in world affairs or in their own lives may awaken them to ‘sigh and groan’ because of what is taking place. (Ezek. 9:4) They may come to yearn for something better. Will we be there to help them? If we really appreciate that Jehovah God wants people to live, we most certainly will go to their aid.