Help Endangered “Sheep”
1 As you look around the Kingdom Hall, can you think of some brothers and sisters whom you have not seen for quite a while? Do you know why they are not attending meetings or sharing in the field service? Perhaps they are burdened with serious family or health problems, or have hurt feelings due to some personality differences, or for some other reason are depressed and discouraged. Or, it may be that someone has moved into your area who at one time associated with Jehovah’s Christian witnesses but has attended no meetings in the new location.
2 What should our attitude be toward these brothers and sisters? It should be like that expressed in Jesus Christ’s illustration at Matthew 18:12, 13. The shepherd willingly left the flock to search diligently for the sheep that had strayed. Expressing Jehovah’s view of straying “sheep,” Jesus stated: “It is not a desirable thing with my Father who is in heaven for one of these little ones to perish.” (Matt. 18:14) Surely, then, we want to be in harmony with Jehovah, doing what we can to help straying “sheep” back into association with the congregation, the flock.
3 In their weakened state, straying “sheep” are in need of assurances from us brothers and sisters who love them. A phone call or a visit prompted, not by a mere sense of duty, but because of really caring for them can do much to lift their spirits. Your simply telling them that they should go to meetings and share in the field service would not be particularly encouraging. In fact, it could be the cause of further discouragement. When speaking to them, be warm and friendly as you would be with fleshly relatives whom you deeply love. Above all, strive to be a good listener and show understanding. You might share with them an upbuilding experience, or invite them to your home for a meal and an afternoon or evening of upbuilding association. If you are able to get them to go with you to a meeting or accompany you in some service activity it can do much to build them up. In some way spend a little time with them. By being natural, expressing yourself from the heart, you will be showing that you care about them as beloved brothers or sisters.—1 Thess. 5:14, 15.
4 Truly in this time of the end we need those related to us in the faith. May we, therefore, continue to think about what we can do to encourage our brothers, to pray for them and to be genuinely interested in those who may be missing out on needed association with the flock.
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Never Leave God’s Place of Spiritual Security.