A charming silent film entitled A Trip Down Market Street enthralls viewers with its revealing display of life as it was in San Francisco, U.S.A., at the turn of the 20th century. Filmmakers had mounted a hand-cranked camera on the front of a moving cable car and trained it on the bustling thoroughfare ahead. The film’s subjects included horse-drawn wagons and early-model automobiles, as well as shoppers and newsboys carrying on their daily affairs.
What lends the film more poignancy is the likelihood that it was filmed in April 1906, just prior to the deadly earthquake and fire on April 18 that claimed thousands of lives and nearly destroyed that part of the city. Probably, some of the vibrant faces captured on film had mere days to live. “I just see the people there,” says Scott Miles, a descendant of one of the filmmakers, “and they don’t know what’s about to hit them. And you can’t help but feel for them.”
A sobering parallel to our day can be drawn. We too cannot help but feel for our neighbors. They go about their daily activities completely oblivious to the calamity that lies immediately ahead
JESUS WAS NEVER OFF DUTY
Jesus’ example is noteworthy in that he never considered himself to be off duty. He preached to everyone he encountered, be it a tax collector he passed on the road or a woman he met at a well during a midday pause. (Luke 19:1-5; John 4:5-10, 21-24) Even when he set aside time to relax, Jesus ungrudgingly abandoned his plans in order to teach others. Compassion for his neighbors caused him to offer more than a token witness. (Mark 6:30-34) How is Jesus’ sense of urgency being imitated today?
THEY PURSUE EVERY OPPORTUNITY
Melika lives in a high-security apartment building. Many of her neighbors are foreign students who use unlisted mobile phones and whose names are not listed in the lobby directory. She appreciates the special opportunity open to her to start spiritual discussions with tenants in the lobby and elevator. She says, “In a way, I consider it my territory.” Melika carries literature with her in several languages, and many accept tracts and magazines. She also directs their attention to our Web site, jw.org. She has started several Bible studies.
Sonia is also alert to witness to whomever she can. She is employed at a doctor’s clinic, and she set the goal of giving a thorough witness to each of her coworkers. First, she took time to learn the needs and interests of each person. Then, she used her lunchtime break to seek them out individually for a spiritual conversation. As a result, Sonia was able to start two Bible studies. She is also planning to take some of her breaks in the entrance lobby of the medical center and speak to those waiting for their appointments.
SEIZE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES
One survivor of the 1906 earthquake called it “the most terrible disaster that ever befell a state or city.” Yet, soon all disasters will pale in comparison with the day of vengeance coming upon all “those who do not know God.” (2 Thess. 1:8) Jehovah keenly desires that people have a change of mind and heart and respond to the warning message that is being given by his Witnesses.
Can you take advantage of every opportunity to witness while going about your daily affairs?
You have the privilege of opening people’s eyes to our critical times and helping them to turn away from selfish interests in order to seek Jehovah. (Zeph. 2:2, 3) Can you take advantage of every opportunity to witness to your workmates, to your neighbors, and to those you meet while going about your daily affairs? Will you do more to warn others?