At the beginning of the 1900’s, people enjoyed a silent film called A Trip Down Market Street. The film showed life in San Francisco, U.S.A., as it was back then. The filmmakers had put a hand-operated camera on the front of a moving cable car and focused it on the busy streets ahead. The film showed horses pulling wagons, automobiles from that time, as well as people shopping and newsboys working.
What makes this film so sad if we watch it today is that it was probably filmed in April 1906, just before the deadly earthquake and fire on April 18 that killed thousands and almost destroyed that part of the city. Some of the people shown in the film probably had only a few more days to live. Scott Miles, a descendant of one of the filmmakers, says: “I just see the people there, and they don’t know what’s about to hit them. And you can’t help but feel for them.”
When we compare what happened back then to our day, it makes us think seriously. We too cannot help but feel for our neighbors. They are busy with everyday life and have no idea of the disaster that will soon come, that is, the destruction of this wicked world and their way of life. However, this disaster is different from an earthquake, which can happen without warning. We have a brief opportunity to warn our neighbors about Jehovah’s day of judgment. You probably use some time each week to preach from door to door, but can you do more to warn others?
JESUS WAS ALWAYS READY TO PREACH
Jesus’ example is important to us. He was always ready to preach to everyone he met, including a tax collector he met on the road and a woman he met at a well during a pause at noon. (Luke 19:1-5; John 4:5-10, 21-24) Even when Jesus had some time to relax, he willingly changed his plans so that he could teach others. The compassion he felt for his neighbors made him do as much as he could to teach them. (Mark 6:30-34) How are publishers today imitating Jesus’ example of being always ready to preach an urgent message?
THEY USE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO PREACH
Melika lives in a high-security apartment building that is difficult to enter. Many of her neighbors are foreign students. They use mobile phones with numbers that are not listed anywhere, and their names do not appear in the building’s lobby directory. She is happy to use every opportunity she has to start conversations about the Bible with those she meets in the lobby and in the elevator. She says, “In a way, I consider it my territory.” Melika carries literature with her in different languages, and many of her neighbors accept tracts and magazines. She also shows people how to get to our Web site, jw.org. She has started several Bible studies.
Sonia also carefully looks for opportunities to preach. She works at a doctor’s clinic, and she made it her goal to give a good witness to each of her workmates. First, she found out what each of them needed and what interested them. Then, she used her lunchtime breaks to find each one of them and have a conversation about the Bible. As a result, Sonia started two Bible studies. She is also planning to take some of her breaks in the lobby of the medical center and speak to those who are waiting for their appointments.
USE EVERY OPPORTUNITY
One person who survived the 1906 earthquake said that it was the most terrible disaster that ever happened to a city or a state. However, all disasters will be nothing compared to the day of vengeance soon to come upon all “those who do not know God.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jehovah really wants people to change their mind and heart and respond to the warning message that his Witnesses preach.
Can you use every opportunity to preach to the people you meet?
You have the honor of helping people to understand that we are living in critical times. They need to stop looking for only their own interests and begin to serve Jehovah. (Zephaniah 2:2, 3) Can you use every opportunity to preach to your workmates, to your neighbors, and to the people you meet every day? Will you do more to warn others?