“I Want To”
WORD had already reached a certain Galilean city that Jesus Christ had cured the sick and expelled demons. There a man full of leprosy came to him.
The leper fell on his face and began entreating Jesus even on bended knee, saying, “If you just want to, you can make me clean.” “At that,” the Bible reports, Jesus “was moved with pity, and he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him: ‘I want to. Be made clean.’ And immediately the leprosy vanished from him, and he became clean.”—Mark 1:40-42; Luke 5:12, 13.
Here was a man afflicted with leprosy—a loathsome disease in those days. Fearing its dreaded contagion, people were customarily repulsed by lepers. But what did Jesus do? He reached out and touched the leper. He was not afraid. Rather, he was moved with compassion for the man.
As busy as Jesus was, he never failed to understand the feelings, needs and circumstances of individuals. There are many such precious examples of Jesus’ showing personal interest in others. This attribute of Jesus endears him to us, comforts us and strengthens us. How he feels about persons who need help even today could not be more eloquently expressed than by what he said to the leper—“I want to.”
In this, Jesus was brilliantly reflecting the personality of his Father, Jehovah God. As the God of eternity and perfection, he lacked nothing. Nevertheless, he chose to share his love and wisdom with others. Hence, he created in heaven and on earth conscious, intelligent life with a capacity to love. And not only does he provide generously for his creatures in a collective manner but he takes a close personal interest in us, listening to our prayers and examining our hearts individually.—Rom. 8:26, 27.
By taking an unselfish personal interest in others, Jesus’ true followers give evidence that they are imitators of Jehovah God and they accomplish God’s will, sometimes even unknown to them.
‘I WANT TO CALL AGAIN’
Jesus commanded his disciples to preach the good news of God’s kingdom. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8) Because Jehovah’s Witnesses take that commission very seriously, they call at every door, eager to share the Bible’s message with those who will listen.
The most successful evangelizers are those who take a sincere personal interest in others in their territory. Such a personal interest will naturally cause proclaimers of the “good news” to listen to people in order to know as much as possible about them. A good doctor does not hand a prescription to a patient before he carefully examines the person. Likewise, if the Christian’s heart is filled with a desire to help people, he, too, will want to get to know them. Only then will a witness of Jehovah be able to assist individuals effectively.
The best preparation Jehovah’s Witnesses can make for the preaching work, therefore, is not so much memorizing some verbal presentations but preparing their heart. If our heart feels a genuine interest in the people we meet, we will never be lost for words. We will say and do things to help them spiritually.
Our taking a personal interest in others in our ministry keeps us thinking about the persons we meet, even after we leave their door. It makes us want to call again.
One of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Connecticut (United States) told her mother about her experience one day in meeting a young lady in the house-to-house preaching activity. “With those big blue eyes, she looked at me and said, ‘I don’t believe in God,’ ” she told her mother. “But I feel there is something there, Mother, and I want to call on her again.”
The Witness did return. A Bible study was started. Six months later, the young lady began sharing in the house-to-house preaching and soon thereafter was baptized as a Christian. Today, this former atheist is the wife of a traveling overseer of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Because of our imitating Jehovah and Jesus in taking a personal interest in others, people are drawn to us and to the truth of God’s Word that we teach.
“CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER”
What binds the disciples of Jesus together in the Christian congregation is their loving interest in one another. (John 13:35; Gal. 6:10) The apostle Paul compared the Christian congregation to the human body in describing the interdependence and mutual interest among its members. He wrote:
“The eye cannot say to the hand: ‘I have no need of you’; or, again, the head cannot say to the feet: ‘I have no need of you.’ . . . there should be no division in the body, but . . . its members should have the same care for one another.”—1 Cor. 12:14-25.
The Greek expression for “have the same care for one another” literally means ‘should be anxious over one another.’ (Kingdom Interlinear Translation) This emphasizes the intensity of the personal interest that the members of the congregation should have in one another. Paul provides a cogent argument for this, saying: “If one member suffers, all the other members suffer with it; or if a member is glorified, all the other members rejoice with it.”—1 Cor. 12:26.
By taking a personal interest in others, we bring out good in people. We see a potential for good in others and nurture it.
The Bible tells us that Barnabas took a personal interest in John, surnamed Mark, as a missionary companion. Barnabas saw a good potential in Mark despite the difficulty he had caused Paul and Barnabas during their first missionary journey. As a result, Mark was helped to develop spiritually to become a splendid servant of God. (Acts 13:5, 13; 15:36-39; 2 Tim. 4:9-11) Mark was eventually blessed by God with the outstanding privilege of being inspired to write the Bible book bearing his name.
Likewise, in the United States, a Christian elder took a personal interest in a teenage boy in the congregation. He would invite the young man to come and help him with the building of a Kingdom Hall, a congregational meeting place. On their way home, they used to have refreshments and talk with each other. The boy has grown up now and is serving as a circuit overseer. But he still remembers this elder’s personal interest in him as one of the highlights in his spiritual development.
As true Christians, we can experience a new spark of joy and purpose in life by taking a personal interest in others—persons with whom we share the Bible message, as well as our spiritual brothers and sisters in the congregation, including the young, the elderly, the sick, the widows, the orphans and our own family members. We can thus fill their life with happiness.
At the same time, we are confident that God will also reward us in many ways. As Jesus assured us: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) So, then, let all genuine lovers of God imitate the heavenly Father in showing a personal interest in others. Jesus exemplified how when he said to the leper, “I want to.”