“Shake the Dust off Your Feet”
1 What did Jesus mean by the words “shake the dust off your feet”? Just before saying this he gave detailed instructions as to what the disciples should and should not do or take with them in the preaching work. Then he spoke the words recorded at Matthew 10:11-15.
2 First, they were to search out those who were “deserving.” But how were the disciples to treat those who did not receive them favorably? Jesus told them to ‘shake the dust off their feet’ and go on their way. This means that they would get on with their work of declaring the “good news” and not waste time in angry disputes that would only irritate the householder and rob the disciple of his peace and joy.—Matt. 10:13; Acts 13:50-52.
3 In Luke 9:5 Jesus said to “shake the dust off your feet for a witness against them.” Our role is to provide a witness about the Kingdom and to warn people of impending destruction at Armageddon. If our message is rejected, we peacefully depart, leaving that house or city to the consequences that will come by Jehovah’s hand.
BE MILD-TEMPERED AND RESPECTFUL
4 Peter wrote: “But sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.” (1 Pet. 3:15) These words reveal the mental attitude we should have.
5 The following experience shows the wisdom of pursuing peace and not retaliating. “A young brother and I walked up a driveway to call on a home while working house to house one morning. When we were about half way up the driveway, the man of the house burst out of the front door yelling for us to get off his property and telling us that he wanted nothing of what we had. The boy and I stood motionless until he had finished and we turned and walked back to the street without making any reply whatsoever. We went across the street and talked to a woman for some time, possibly a half hour. When we came out from her house, the previously violent man was standing at the end of his driveway waiting for us. We expected another tirade. Instead, he had regained his composure, was very mild and apologized for the way he had spoken to us. We feel this sudden change in his attitude was due to the fact that we did not retaliate.”—Rom. 12:17, 18.
6 Regardless of how bitter or indifferent individuals may be, they cannot rob us of our joy and peace if we maintain a proper mental attitude and fine Christian conduct.
MAKE FIELD SERVICE A PLEASURE
7 Due to not having this right mental attitude, some have been discouraged. Some adjustment in thinking may be needed. Be positive. Present the Kingdom message in a kindly and friendly manner. If people listen and respond, it is to their benefit. If not, you have provided a warning.—Ezek. 33:9.
8 Many of those whom we contact in the territory do not want to serve Jehovah. (Matt. 7:13) Those who are deserving will manifest themselves. Hence, continue displaying loving-kindness, mildness, and even maintaining silence when necessary. As the occasion demands, “shake the dust off your feet,” symbolically speaking, knowing that Jehovah, Jesus Christ and the holy angels are witnesses to your faithful work.—Matt. 24:14; Ezek. 33:33.