Are You Having a Share in Assisting Inactive Ones?
1 “Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.” (Luke 15:6) This feeling of rejoicing is being experienced by many brothers and sisters in congregations where inactive ones are returning to the flock. In these critical days it is indeed a joy to be able to assist some of our brothers who, for one reason or another, stopped associating with us. We share Jehovah’s viewpoint concerning them, that “it is not a desirable thing . . . for one of these little ones to perish.”—Matt. 18:14.
2 Of course, in order for more of us to have this joy, continued effort is required. Why? A lost sheep is usually quite helpless. It is the shepherd who does the searching to recover it. Thus, a real effort is necessary to search for, find, and then nourish a lost sheep. In his illustration, Jesus indicated that the shepherd would leave the ninety-nine behind and go for the lost one until he finds it.—Luke 15:4.
HOW ALL CAN HELP
3 The February issue of Our Kingdom Ministry indicated that the secretary and the service overseer will coordinate matters in order to assign well-qualified publishers to conduct home Bible studies with inactive ones. However, this does not mean that the rest of the congregation cannot help also. Positive results have been obtained by the united efforts of all the publishers.
4 Recently a circuit overseer visited a former special pioneer couple who had been inactive for two years. After telling the traveling brother of their problems, with many tears, they both decided to come back to the congregation. In time they began sharing in the field service. How do they feel now? The wife states: “I would like to express my appreciation for the Christian love and warmth you have shown us. I felt like I had a two-ton load lifted off of me.” She concluded her letter to the circuit overseer, saying: “I pray that this will never happen to me again. Heartfelt thanks for coming when you did and for even coming back after my being cool to you. You helped me to see things were not hopeless. I will never forget you.”
5 It is good to recognize that for persons who have been away from the congregation it may be somewhat difficult to attend meetings once again. Timidity or shame may make it difficult for them at first. How loving it would be for all of us to take the initiative in greeting these individuals when they come to the Kingdom Hall. It will show them that we are happy, yes, that we “rejoice” to have them with us. Our show of concern should not be limited to their initial return, but every time they come to the Kingdom Hall we should make them feel welcome. Are you having a share in assisting inactive ones in this way?
6 We are pleased to see that many congregations have experienced positive results because of taking to heart the program of assisting inactive ones. A circuit overseer reported recently that in one congregation seven were reactivated. One sister told the elders she had been waiting for someone to call and assist her, as she found it difficult to begin associating again on her own.
7 It is possible that some may not want to be helped. Jesus said: “IF he happens to find it,” he rejoices. (Matt. 18:13) So, if it happens that we do not have success in reactivating some, we will not be overly disappointed, knowing that we tried hard to help.
8 Searching for something that has been lost usually takes time, patience and a positive attitude. Results may not come as quickly as we would like. But this is no reason to become discouraged. We need to keep on expending ourselves in this, knowing that it is “not a desirable thing . . . for one of these little ones to perish.” (Matt. 18:14) May we all endeavor to have a share in assisting inactive ones.