Examples to Encourage Us
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
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In a letter to Brother Russell, one sister wrote, “One is astonished at the various ways in which different people, many of them professed Christians, receive the truth. Some turn a deaf ear entirely, and change the conversation as quickly as possible; others are indifferent — the truth as preached is sufficient for them; they do not wish to be any wiser than their parents, etc.; still others are startled and state that the signs of the times indicate that some great catastrophe is approaching they know not what. Others, and these are the ministers and learned men I talk with, admit that we have fallen upon evil times; but that brighter times are coming, that an age of greater faith is approaching, etc. Pity they cannot see just how it is to be brought about! But, thank God, there are a few who have the listening ear” (R3643).
When it comes to witnessing, it is interesting how a seed is planted and sometimes an entire fragrant rose bush seems to quickly appear. At other times, just a single flower comes up. Often we are left with a pile of seeds that never take root.
Many of our beloved brethren are here because of tireless witness efforts, through grand production efforts and individual voices. Brethren have found the truth from tracts, Volumes
placed by colporteurs, flower and garden shows, the “For This Cause” multi-media showings, the Christian Questions radio program, fair booths, mailings, friends from work and more.
The following articles present the testimonies of some of these brethren — those who were specifically involved in the witness and those who answered the call. What was it that enabled the one who witnessed to step out of their comfort zone to tell the old, old story? What was it that enabled the recipient to accept
a message that many others rejected? What part of the message or the messenger impressed itself on their mind?
During the undertaking of this project, the concept of “confluence of events” kept coming up. In many cases, it was evident that the Lord provided small preparatory steps to find the truth — it did not necessarily come all at once. The image of a firefly on a summer night comes to mind. It is as if the person saw a flicker of light from a firefly, and yet was not moved to
pursue it further. Months or even years later, there would be another flicker here or a flicker there. These made impressions on the memory but did not result in action. The many small experiences eventually joined together to form the providence needed to bring a heart to the truth, as if the light was bright enough from an entire jar of fireflies. And so, while at times it may seem our witnessing efforts are not producing results, we may be that single firefly that helps lead them, step by step, to the Lord.
Many readers will relate to the social pressure, struggle, guilt, fear, and apprehension some brethren have experienced. Many were dissatisfied with the message they were hearing from their own church and were not willing to accept the idea, “that is just the way it is.” Dissatisfaction can be a catapult to searching.
We pray these stories encourage you to look diligently for the opportunities the Lord places in your path. A “word in season” can change a life and you may be the one to utter that word.
We all have a story to tell and the question, “How did your walk with the Lord begin?” is always a wonderful way to get to know each other and strengthen our bonds and our faith.
R3643: “Do you not think the Lord purposely keeps results from being seen by those who do the work in order to give room for the exercise of faith? They should believe their ‘labor is not in vain in the Lord,’ whether they can see its outward fruit or not. Our heavenly Father wants us to work for him, not for results
— work from principle, not from a mere desire to see our efforts prospering. Should we not also esteem the fruit borne in our lives of more consequence than the results of labors in the