Why Do the Witnesses Keep Calling?
‘THERE they are again! But they were here only a few weeks ago!’ Does that go through your mind when one of Jehovah’s Witnesses calls on you? Millions today are regularly visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses. You might ask, Why do they persist when they know that most people have their own religion or are not interested? That question deserves an answer.
Responsibility Before God
Jehovah’s Witnesses have learned from the Scriptures that since 1914, the year World War I began, world events have been fulfilling Bible prophecies regarding the end of the present world system and the incoming rule of God’s Kingdom over this earth. Almost a century of violence, bloodshed, and hatred seems to have left mankind further than ever from a political solution to their problems. The wars and terrorism that still afflict the human family are proof that human rulership has failed to change people’s hearts, minds, and attitudes. Deep-seated resentment over events that took place back in history still poison the relations between ethnic, racial, and religious groups. That is true in areas as far apart as Afghanistan, India, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the former Yugoslavia. What, then, is the only enduring solution?
What Motivates the Witnesses?
Jehovah’s Witnesses recognize that God’s solution—his promised Kingdom rule by Christ Jesus—is the only viable answer. Jesus even included a petition for that Kingdom rule in his famous model prayer: “You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.’” The Witnesses believe that this prayer really asks for God’s intervention in the affairs of mankind.—Matthew 6:9, 10.
So why do Jehovah’s Witnesses feel the need constantly to go from house to house to try to deliver that message? Because of two commands that Jesus highlighted: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’”—Matthew 22:37-39.
The Witnesses want God’s blessing for themselves, and because they love their neighbors, they want that same blessing for them. Thus, following Jesus’ example, they feel compelled by unselfish love to visit their neighbors. They want at least to offer them the opportunity of getting to know what “the happy God” has promised for obedient mankind on a cleansed earth.—1 Timothy 1:11; 2 Peter 3:13.
The Christian missionary Paul believed in God’s promises and thus could write: “Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the faith of God’s chosen ones and the accurate knowledge of the truth which accords with godly devotion upon the basis of a hope of the everlasting life which God, who cannot lie, promised before times long lasting.” Yes, God, “who cannot lie,” “promised” everlasting life to those who humbly seek to know and serve him.—Titus 1:1, 2; Zephaniah 2:3.
Are the Witnesses Paid?
Occasionally some have alleged that the Witnesses are paid for their ministry. Nothing could be further from the truth! They take seriously Paul’s words to the congregation in Corinth: “We are not peddlers of the word of God as many men are, but as out of sincerity, yes, as sent from God, under God’s view, in company with Christ, we are speaking.”—2 Corinthians 2:17.
Some religious leaders do preach for money, whether it be payment for religious services or promoting commercial enterprises on their TV ministries. Most religions have a paid clergy.
In contrast, the Witnesses have no paid clergy, and often their Bible literature is offered without price to sincere seekers of truth, though many of these are moved to make voluntary donations. These are used to defray the costs of this worldwide preaching work. In line with Jesus’ counsel: “You received free, give free,” the Witnesses freely expend their resources, including time and energy, in devoting millions of hours each year to God’s service. Thus, they teach interested persons from house to house and by means of home Bible studies.—Matthew 10:8; 28:19, 20; Acts 20:19, 20.
The facts prove that there is no monetary motive for Jehovah’s Witnesses as individuals, for their local congregations, or for the Watch Tower Society. No one receives any payment for going from house to house. Then how is the work financed? By voluntary contributions from appreciative people all around the world. No collections are ever taken.
The Impact of Their Witnessing
Do the house-to-house ministry and the Witnesses’ informal preaching have an impact on the public consciousness? The evidence in the media gives a resounding yes to that question. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been mentioned in the course of TV programs and movies when someone is shown knocking on a door. Cartoon strips have mentioned the Witnesses. Their zealous activity is so well-known that cartoonists around the world have included references to Jehovah’s Witnesses. These may appear to be satirical, but they are usually based on a positive fundamental fact—that the Witnesses are known for their persistent house-to-house preaching.—Acts 20:20.
One recent cartoon showed a man climbing a mountain to consult a “guru.” He said: “Speak to me of wondrous things to come!” How did the “guru” answer? “Let’s see . . . There will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon to blood.” The inquirer asked: “What’s the good news?” To which the “guru” responded: “God will wipe away every tear . . . and there shall be no more death nor sorrow nor pain!” Asked the visitor: “How do you know of such things?” The answer? “Nobody escapes Jehovah’s Witnesses!” And that must also have been true of the cartoon artist himself!
The impressive point of this strip and others like it is that it reveals not only the constancy of the Witnesses’ visits but also the consistency of their message. In just a few words, the artist gave a key part of their house-to-house witness and quoted scriptures.—Compare Matthew 24:7, 29; Revelation 21:3, 4.
The fact that most people reject their message does not discourage the Witnesses or diminish their zeal. The apostle Peter warned: “In the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ‘Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.’” Despite this, motivated by love, the Witnesses continue to visit their neighbors and will do so until God brings an end to the present corrupt system.—2 Peter 3:3, 4.
Jesus said that in the last days, the good news would have to be preached first. For a further examination of why and how, see the two articles that follow.—Mark 13:10.
[Pictures on page 9]
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have a salaried clergy class—all are volunteer ministers