How Is It All Financed?
IT IS obvious that the work carried on by Jehovah’s Witnesses requires money. Building Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, branch offices, factories, and Bethel homes involves money, and more is needed to maintain them. Expenses are also incurred in publishing and distributing literature for Bible study. How is all of this financed?
Unfounded speculations regarding this have been publicized by persons who oppose the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But a review of the evidence supports the answer that the Witnesses themselves give. What is that? Most of the work is done by volunteers, who neither expect nor desire financial return for their services, and organizational expenses are met by voluntary donations.
“Seats Free. No Collections”
As early as the second issue of the Watch Tower, in August 1879, Brother Russell stated: “‘Zion’s Watch Tower’ has, we believe, JEHOVAH for its backer, and while this is the case it will never beg nor petition men for support. When He who says: ‘All the gold and silver of the mountains are mine,’ fails to provide necessary funds, we will understand it to be time to suspend the publication.” Consistent with that, there is no begging for money in the literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
What is true of their literature is also true of their meetings. There are no emotional appeals for funds in their congregations or at their conventions. No collection plates are passed; no envelopes in which to put money are distributed; no letters of solicitation are sent to congregation members. Congregations never resort to bingo or raffles to raise funds. As early as 1894, when the Watch Tower Society sent out traveling speakers, it published this notice for the benefit of everyone: “Let it be understood from the first that collections or other solicitations of money are neither authorized nor approved by this Society.”
Thus, since very early in their modern-day history, handbills and other printed invitations to the public to attend the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses have carried the slogan “Seats Free. No Collections.”
Beginning early in 1914, the Bible Students rented theaters as well as other auditoriums and invited the public to these to see the “Photo-Drama of Creation.” This was a four-part presentation, eight hours in all, made up of slides and motion pictures synchronized with sound. During the first year alone, millions of persons saw it in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Although some theater owners charged for reserved seats, the Bible Students never requested an admission fee. And no collections were taken.
Later, for over 30 years, the Watch Tower Society operated radio station WBBR in New York City. Jehovah’s Witnesses also used the services of hundreds of other stations to broadcast programs of Bible education. But never did they use such broadcasts to beg for money.
How, then, are the donations that finance their activity obtained?
Supported by Voluntary Donations
The Bible sets the pattern. Under the Mosaic Law, there were certain contributions that were voluntary. Others were required of the people. The giving of a tithe, or tenth part, was one of the latter. (Ex. 25:2; 30:11-16; Num. 15:17-21; 18:25-32) But the Bible also shows that Christ fulfilled the Law, and God brought it to an end; so Christians are not bound by its regulations. They do not tithe, nor are they under obligation to give any other contribution of a specified amount or at a particular time.—Matt. 5:17; Rom. 7:6; Col. 2:13, 14.
Instead, they are encouraged to cultivate a spirit of generosity and liberality in imitation of the marvelous example set by Jehovah himself and by his Son, Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 8:7, 9; 9:8-15; 1 John 3:16-18) Thus, with reference to giving, the apostle Paul wrote to the Christian congregation in Corinth: “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” When informed of a need, this presented them with ‘a test of the genuineness of their love,’ as Paul explained. He also said: “If the readiness is there first, it is especially acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what a person does not have.”—2 Cor. 8:8, 12; 9:7.
In the light of this, the comment by Tertullian regarding meetings held by people who were endeavoring to practice Christianity in his day (c.155–after 220 C.E.) is interesting. He wrote: “Even if there is a chest of a sort, it is not made up of money paid in entrance-fees, as if religion were a matter of contract. Every man once a month brings some modest coin—or whenever he wishes, and only if he does wish, and if he can; for nobody is compelled; it is a voluntary offering.” (Apology, XXXIX, 5) During the centuries since then, however, the churches of Christendom have engaged in every conceivable money-raising scheme to finance their activities.
Charles Taze Russell refused to imitate the churches. He wrote: “It is our judgment that money raised by the various begging devices in the name of our Lord is offensive, unacceptable to him, and does not bring his blessing either upon the givers or the work accomplished.”
Rather than attempt to curry favor with those who had wealth, Brother Russell clearly stated, in harmony with the Scriptures, that the majority of the Lord’s people would be poor in this world’s goods but rich in faith. (Matt. 19:23, 24; 1 Cor. 1:26-29; Jas. 2:5) Instead of emphasizing the need for money in order to spread Bible truth, he focused attention on the importance of cultivating the spirit of love, the desire to give, and the desire to assist others, especially by sharing the truth with them. To those who had ability in making money and who suggested that by devoting themselves principally to business affairs they would have more to contribute financially, he said that it would be better to limit such activity and to give of themselves and of their time in spreading the truth. That is still the position taken by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.a
In actual practice, how much do people give? What they do is a personal decision. However, in the matter of giving, it should be noted that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not think merely in terms of material possessions. At their district conventions in 1985-86, they discussed the subject “Honoring Jehovah With Our Valuable Things.” (Prov. 3:9) It was emphasized that these valuable things include not only material possessions but also physical, mental, and spiritual assets.
Back in 1904, Brother Russell pointed out that a person who has made a full consecration (or, dedication, as we now say) to God “has already given all that he has to the Lord.” Thus, he should now “consider himself as appointed by the Lord the steward of his own time, influence, money, etc., and each is to seek to use these talents to the best of his ability, to the Master’s glory.” He added that, guided by the wisdom from above, “in proportion as his love and zeal for the Lord grow day by day through a knowledge of the Truth and the attainment of its spirit, he will find himself giving more and more of time, more and more of his influence, and more and more of such means as are at his command, for the service of the Truth.”—Studies in the Scriptures, “The New Creation,” pp. 344-5.
During those early years, the Watch Tower Society had what it called the Tower Tract Fund. What was that? The following interesting details were set out on the back of stationery sometimes used by Brother Russell: “This fund consists of the free-will offerings of those who have been fed and strengthened by the ‘meat in due season’ which the above publications [made available by the Watch Tower Society], as God’s instrumentalities, are now laying before the consecrated saints, the world over.
“This fund is constantly employed in sending out, gratis, thousands of copies of ZION’S WATCH TOWER and OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS most suitable to new readers. It also assists in the spread of the paper-bound editions of the DAWN series, by aiding those disposed to circulate them—colporteurs and others. It also provides a ‘poor fund’ by which any of the Lord’s children who, through age, or sickness, or from other cause, are unable to subscribe for the WATCH TOWER are supplied free, upon condition of their sending a letter or card at the beginning of each year, stating their desire and inability.
“No one is ever asked to contribute to this fund: all donations must be voluntary. We remind our readers of the Apostle’s words (1 Cor. 16:1, 2) and corroborate them by saying that those who can give and do give to spread the truth are sure to be repaid in spiritual favors.”
The global activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses in proclaiming the good news of God’s Kingdom continues to be supported by voluntary donations. In addition to the Witnesses themselves, many appreciative interested persons count it a privilege to support this Christian work with their voluntary contributions.
Financing Local Places of Meeting
Each congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses has suitable contribution boxes where people can put whatever donations they desire—when they wish to do so and if they can. It is handled in a private manner so that others are not usually aware of what a person may do. It is between him and God.
There are no salaries to be paid, but it does cost money to maintain a meeting place. In order to fill that need, members of the congregation have to be informed. However, over 70 years ago, The Watch Tower made clear that with regard to contributions, there should be no pleading or urging—simply a plain, honest statement of the facts. In line with this viewpoint, congregation meetings do not include frequent discussions of financial matters.
Sometimes, however, there are special needs. It may be that plans are being made to refurbish or enlarge a Kingdom Hall or perhaps to build a new one. In order to ascertain what funds will be available, the elders may ask those in the congregation to write on slips of paper what they individually expect to be able to donate to the project or, possibly, to make available for a number of years. Additionally, the elders may ask that individuals or families write on slips what they feel able to contribute on a weekly or monthly basis, with Jehovah’s blessing. No names are signed. These are not promissory notes, but they do provide a basis for intelligent planning.—Luke 14:28-30.
In Tarma, Liberia, the congregation obtained needed funds in a somewhat different way. Some in the congregation raised rice for a Witness in his field while he devoted a full year to cutting trees and hand-sawing planks, which were then sold to obtain money for their building project. In Paramaribo, Suriname, although materials had to be purchased, a congregation needed no money for land, because a Witness donated her land for the Kingdom Hall and only asked that her home be moved to the back of the property. The extremely high real-estate prices in Tokyo, Japan, made it difficult for congregations there to obtain land on which to build Kingdom Halls. In order to help solve this problem, several families offered the use of the land on which their own homes were built. They simply requested that after their home was replaced by a new Kingdom Hall, they be provided with an apartment upstairs.
As congregations grew and divided, those located within a given area often tried to assist one another in order to provide suitable Kingdom Halls. In spite of that generous spirit, something else was needed. Property values and building costs skyrocketed, and individual congregations often found it impossible to handle these. What could be done?
At the “Kingdom Unity” District Conventions in 1983, the Governing Body outlined an arrangement that called for application of the principle set out at 2 Corinthians 8:14, 15, which encourages letting the surplus of those who have it offset the deficiency of others so that “an equalizing might take place.” Thus those who have little will not have so little that they are hindered in their efforts to serve Jehovah.
Each congregation was invited to arrange for a box marked “Contributions for Society Kingdom Hall Fund.” Everything put into that box would be used only for that purpose. Money contributed throughout the country would thus be made available to offset the deficiency of congregations that badly needed a Kingdom Hall but could not arrange for it on the terms that local banks required. After a careful survey to ascertain where the need was really the most pressing, the Society began to make that money available to congregations that needed to build or otherwise acquire new Kingdom Halls. As more contributions were received and (in lands where it could be done) loans were repaid, still more congregations could be assisted.
This arrangement went into operation first in the United States and Canada, and since then it has spread to over 30 lands in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Far East. By 1992, in just eight of these lands, money had already been made available to assist in providing 2,737 Kingdom Halls, accommodating 3,840 congregations.
Even in lands where this arrangement was not in operation, but where there was urgent need for Kingdom Halls that could not be financed locally, the Governing Body endeavored to make other arrangements to see that help was provided. Thus an equalizing took place, so that those who had little did not have too little.
Caring for Expansion of the World Headquarters
Operation of the world headquarters has also required funds. Following World War I, when the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society found it advantageous to print and bind its own books, an arrangement was worked out by which the needed machinery was bought in the name of private parties—fellow servants of Jehovah. Instead of paying a profit to a commercial company for manufacturing the books, the Society applied this amount each month to reducing the debt for the equipment. As the benefits of this were realized, the cost of much of the literature to the public was cut to about half. What was being done was to further the preaching of the good news, not to enrich the Watch Tower Society.
In a few years, it was evident that larger facilities were needed at the world headquarters in order to care for the global work of Kingdom preaching. Again and again, as the organization has grown and the preaching activity has been intensified, it has become necessary to add to these facilities. Rather than go to the banks for needed funds to enlarge and equip the headquarters offices and factories as well as the support facilities in and around New York, the Society has explained the need to the brothers. This has been done, not frequently, but only 12 times over a period of 65 years.
There has never been solicitation. Any who wanted to make donations were invited to do so. Those who chose to lend funds were assured that if an unexpected and urgent need arose, their loan would be repaid upon receipt of their request for it. Thus in its handling of matters, the Society endeavored to avoid working any hardship on individuals and congregations that kindly made funds available. The support given by Jehovah’s Witnesses by means of their contributions has always enabled the Society to repay all loans. Such contributions sent to the Society are not taken for granted. To the extent possible, these are acknowledged by letters and other statements of appreciation.
The work of the organization is not maintained by donations of a group of wealthy donors. Most of the contributions are from individuals who have only moderate means—many of them, very little of this world’s goods. Included are young children who want to share in this way in supporting the Kingdom work. The hearts of all these donors are moved by deep appreciation for Jehovah’s goodness and a desire to help others to learn of his gracious provisions.—Compare Mark 12:42-44.
Financing Expansion of Branch Facilities
As the Kingdom-preaching work has taken on greater proportions in various parts of the world, it has been necessary to enlarge the organization’s branch facilities. This is done under the direction of the Governing Body.
Thus, after reviewing recommendations from the branch in Germany, directions were given in 1978 to locate suitable property and then to build an entirely new complex. Could the German Witnesses care for the expenses involved? The opportunity was extended to them. At the completion of that project in 1984, at Selters, at the western edge of the Taunus Mountains, the branch office reported: “Tens of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses—rich and poor, young and old—contributed millions of dollars to help pay for the new facilities. Due to their generosity, the entire project could be completed without the necessity of borrowing money from worldly agencies or of having to go into debt.” Additionally, about 1 out of every 7 Witnesses in the Federal Republic of Germany had shared in the actual construction work at Selters/Taunus.
In some other lands, the local economy or the financial condition of Jehovah’s Witnesses has made it very difficult, even impossible, for them to build needed branch offices to supervise the work or factories in which to publish Bible literature in the local languages. The Witnesses within the country have been given opportunity to do what they can. (2 Cor. 8:11, 12) But lack of funds in a country is not allowed to hinder the spread of the Kingdom message there if needed finances are available elsewhere.
Thus, while local Witnesses do what they can, in a large part of the world a considerable portion of the money needed for branch buildings is provided by donations made by Jehovah’s Witnesses in other lands. That was true in connection with the building of the large complexes completed in South Africa in 1987, Nigeria in 1990, and the Philippines in 1991. It was also true of Zambia, where potential printing facilities were still under construction in 1992. It has likewise been true of many projects of smaller proportions, such as those completed in India in 1985; Chile in 1986; Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Haiti, and Papua New Guinea in 1987; Ghana in 1988; and Honduras in 1989.
In some lands, however, the brothers have been surprised at what they could accomplish locally with Jehovah’s blessing on their united efforts. In the early 1980’s, for example, the branch in Spain was making moves toward major enlargement of its facilities. The branch asked the Governing Body to provide the needed finances. But because of heavy expenditures in other directions at that time, such help was not then available. If given the opportunity, could the Spanish Witnesses, with their relatively low wages, provide sufficient funds for such an enterprise?
The situation was explained to them. Gladly they came forward with their jewels, rings, and bracelets so that these could be turned into cash. When one elderly Witness was asked whether she was sure she really wanted to donate the heavy gold bracelet that she had handed in, she replied: “Brother, it is going to do far more good paying for a new Bethel than it will on my wrist!” An older sister dug out a pile of musty bank notes that she had stashed away under the floor of her home over the years. Couples contributed the money they had saved for trips. Children sent their savings. A youngster who was planning to buy a guitar donated the money toward the branch project instead. Like the Israelites at the time that the tabernacle was built in the wilderness, the Spanish Witnesses proved to be generous and willinghearted contributors of all that was needed in a material way. (Ex. 35:4-9, 21, 22) Then they offered themselves—full-time, during vacations, on weekends—to do the work itself. From all over Spain they came—thousands of them. Other Witnesses from Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, Greece, and the United States, to mention a few, joined with them to complete what had at first seemed like an impossible task.
Is There a Profit From the Literature?
As of 1992, Bible literature was being published at the world headquarters and at 32 branches worldwide. Vast amounts of it were being provided for distribution by Jehovah’s Witnesses. But none of this was done for commercial gain. Decisions as to the languages in which literature would be printed and the countries to which it would be shipped were made not for any commercial advantage but solely with a view to accomplishing the work that Jesus Christ assigned to his followers.
As early as July 1879, when the very first issue of the Watch Tower was published, it carried a notice saying that those too poor to pay for a subscription (then only 50¢, U.S., per year) could have it free if they would simply write to make request. The principal objective was to help people learn about Jehovah’s grand purpose.
To that end, since 1879 tremendous amounts of Bible literature have been distributed to the public without charge. In 1881 and thereafter, approximately 1,200,000 copies of Food for Thinking Christians were distributed gratis. Many of these were in the form of a 162-page book; others, in newspaper format. Scores of tracts of varying sizes were published during the years that followed. The vast majority of these (literally hundreds of millions of copies) were distributed without charge. The number of tracts and other publications given out kept growing. In 1915 alone, the report showed that 50,000,000 copies of tracts in some 30 languages were supplied for worldwide distribution without charge. Where was the money for all of this coming from? Largely from voluntary donations to the Society’s Tract Fund.
There was also literature that was offered for a contribution during the early decades of the Society’s history, but the suggested contribution was kept as low as possible. This literature included bound books of 350 to 744 pages. When the Society’s colporteurs (as full-time preachers were then known) offered these to the public, they stated the amount suggested as a contribution. Their objective, however, was not to make money but to get vital Bible truths into the hands of the people. They wanted people to read the literature and benefit from it.
They were more than willing to give a person literature (making a contribution for it themselves) if the householder was destitute. But it had been observed that many people were more inclined to read a publication if they gave something for it, and what they contributed could, of course, be used to print more literature. Yet, emphasizing the fact that the Bible Students were not seeking financial gain, the Society’s service instruction sheet, the Bulletin, of October 1, 1920, said: “Ten days after having delivered the booklet [one that consisted of 128 pages], call again upon the parties and ascertain whether they have read it. If they have not, ask that they return the book and refund their money. Tell them that you are not a book agent, but that you are interested in giving this message of comfort and cheer to everybody, and that if they are not sufficiently interested in a fact that so closely concerns them . . . , you wish to put the book into the hands of someone who will be interested.” Jehovah’s Witnesses have not continued to use that method, for they have found that other family members sometimes pick up the literature and benefit from it; but what was done back then does highlight the real objective of the Witnesses.
For many years they referred to their distribution of literature as “selling.” But this terminology caused some confusion, and so beginning in 1929, it was gradually dropped. The term did not really fit their activity, for their work was not commercial. Their objective was not money-making. Their entire motivation was to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom. Because of this, in 1943 the Supreme Court of the United States held that Jehovah’s Witnesses could not be required to obtain a commercial peddling license before distributing their literature. And the Canadian judiciary thereafter quoted with approval the reasoning set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in that decision.b
In many lands Jehovah’s Witnesses have regularly offered their literature on a contribution basis. The suggested contribution has been so low, compared to other books and magazines, that many people have offered to contribute more. But great effort has been made on the part of the organization to keep the suggested contribution down so that it will be within the means of the many millions of people who have very little of this world’s goods but who are grateful to receive a Bible or Bible literature. The objective in suggesting a contribution, however, has not been the enrichment of the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Where the law construes any distribution of Bible literature as commercial if the distributor suggests a contribution for the literature, Jehovah’s Witnesses gladly leave it with anyone who shows sincere interest and promises to read it. Those who want to donate something to further the work of Bible education may give whatever they like. That is done, for example, in Japan. In Switzerland, until recently, contributions for literature were accepted, but only up to a stated sum; so if householders wanted to give more, the Witnesses simply returned it or provided the householder with additional literature. Their desire was, not to collect money, but to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom.
In 1990, because of highly publicized financial scandals in some of Christendom’s religions, coupled with an increasing tendency by governments to classify religious activity as a commercial enterprise, Jehovah’s Witnesses made some adjustments in their activity in order to avoid any misunderstanding. The Governing Body directed that in the United States, all literature that the Witnesses distribute—Bibles, as well as tracts, booklets, magazines, and bound books explaining the Bible—be provided to people on the sole precondition that they read it, no contribution being suggested. The activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses is in no way commercial, and this arrangement served to further differentiate them from religious groups that commercialize religion. Of course, most people are aware that it costs money to print such literature, and those who appreciate the service being performed by the Witnesses may want to donate something to help with the work. It is explained to such persons that the worldwide work of Bible education conducted by Jehovah’s Witnesses is supported by voluntary donations. Donations are gladly accepted, but they are not solicited.
Those who share in the field ministry are not doing it for financial gain. They donate their time, and they pay for their own transportation. If someone shows interest, they arrange to return each week, absolutely free of charge, to give personal instruction in the Bible. Only love for God and for their fellowman could motivate them to continue to engage in such activity, often in the face of indifference and outright opposition.
Funds received at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses or at its branch offices are used, not for the enrichment of the organization or any individual, but to further the preaching of the good news. Back in 1922, The Watch Tower reported that because of the economic situation in Europe, books printed there for the Society were being paid for chiefly by the American office and were often being left with the people at less than cost. Although Jehovah’s Witnesses now operate printing establishments in many lands, some countries to which the literature is shipped are not able to send any funds out of the country to cover the cost. The generous voluntary donations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in lands where they have sufficient resources help to offset the lack in countries where they have little.
The Watch Tower Society has always endeavored to use all the resources at its disposal to further the preaching of the good news. In 1915, as president of the Society, Charles Taze Russell said: “Our Society has not sought to lay up earthly riches, but has been, rather, a spending institution. Whatever God’s providence sent in to us without solicitation we have sought to spend as wisely as possible in harmony with the Word and Spirit of the Lord. Long ago we announced that when the funds would cease, the activities of the Society would cease proportionately; and that as the funds increased, the Society’s activities would be enlarged.” The Society has continued to do exactly that.
Right down to the present, the organization uses available funds to send out traveling overseers to fortify the congregations and to encourage them in their public ministry. It continues to send missionaries and graduates of the Ministerial Training School to lands where there is special need. It also uses whatever funds are available to send special pioneers into areas where little or no preaching of the Kingdom message has yet been done. As reported in the 1993 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, during the previous service year, $45,218,257.56 (U.S.) was expended in these ways.
Not Serving for Personal Gain
No financial profit is made by any members of the Governing Body, officers of its legal agencies, or other prominent persons associated with the organization as a result of the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Regarding C. T. Russell, who served as president of the Watch Tower Society for over 30 years, one of his associates wrote: “As a means of determining whether his course was in harmony with the Scriptures, and also as a means of demonstrating his own sincerity, he decided to test the Lord’s approval as follows: (1) Devote his life to the cause; (2) Invest his fortune in the promulgation of the work; (3) Prohibit collections at all meetings; (4) Depend on unsolicited contributions (wholly voluntary) to continue the work after his fortune was exhausted.”
Instead of using religious activity to acquire material wealth for himself, Brother Russell spent all his resources in the Lord’s work. After his death it was reported in The Watch Tower: “He devoted his private fortune entirely to the cause to which he gave his life. He received the nominal sum of $11.00 per month for his personal expenses. He died, leaving no estate whatsoever.”
With regard to those who would carry on the work of the Society, Brother Russell stipulated in his will: “As for compensation, I think it wise to maintain the Society’s course of the past in respect to salaries—that none be paid; that merely reasonable expenses be allowed to those who serve the Society or its work in any manner.” Those who would serve at the Society’s Bethel homes, offices, and factories, as well as its traveling representatives, were to be provided merely food, shelter, and a moderate amount for expenses—enough for immediate needs but “no provision . . . for the laying up of money.” That same standard applies today.
Those who are accepted for special full-time service at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses all subscribe to a vow of poverty, as have all the members of the Governing Body and all the other members of the Bethel family there. This does not mean that they live a drab life, without any comforts. But it does mean that they share, without partiality, the modest provisions of food, shelter, and expense reimbursement that are made for all in such service.
Thus the organization carries on its work with complete dependence on the help that God gives. Without compulsion but as a real spiritual brotherhood that reaches into all parts of the earth, Jehovah’s Witnesses gladly use their resources to accomplish the work that Jehovah, their grand heavenly Father, has given them to do.
a See The Watchtower, September 1, 1944, page 269; December 15, 1987, pages 19-20.
b Murdock v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (1943); Odell v. Trepanier, 95 C.C.C. 241 (1949).
[Blurb on page 340]
“Solicitations of money are neither authorized nor approved by this Society”
[Blurb on page 342]
Principal emphasis is on the value of sharing the truth with others
[Blurb on page 343]
A plain, honest statement of the facts
[Blurb on page 344]
Congregations help one another to obtain needed Kingdom Halls
[Blurb on page 345]
Most of the contributions are from individuals who have only moderate means
[Blurb on page 348]
Much literature distributed without charge—who pays for it?
[Blurb on page 349]
They gladly leave literature with anyone who shows sincere interest and promises to read it
[Blurb on page 350]
What is done with money that is donated?
[Blurb on page 351]
“He devoted his private fortune entirely to the cause to which he gave his life”
[Box on page 341]
God Does Not Beg
“He who said, ‘If I were hungry I would not tell thee, for the world is mine and the fullness thereof. . . . I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds; for every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills’ (Psa. 50:12, 9, 10), is able to carry on his great work without begging for funds either from the world or from his children. Neither will he compel his children to sacrifice anything in his service, nor will he accept anything from them short of a cheerful, free-will offering.”—“Zion’s Watch Tower,” September 1886, p. 6.
[Box on page 347]
Donations Were Not Always in the Form of Money
Witnesses in the far north of Queensland prepared and sent to the Watch Tower construction site in Sydney, Australia, four semitrailer loads of prime timber that then had an estimated value of between A$60,000 and A$70,000.
When the Watch Tower factory at Elandsfontein, South Africa, was being enlarged, an Indian brother phoned and asked that they please pick up a donation of 500 bags (110 pounds [50 kg] each) of cement—at a time when there was a scarcity of it in the country. Others offered their trucks for use by the Society. An African sister paid a firm to deliver 20 cubic yards [15 cu m] of building sand.
In the Netherlands when new branch facilities were being put up at Emmen, huge quantities of tools and work clothing were donated. One sister, though very ill, knitted a pair of woolen stockings for each of the workers during the winter period.
To build a new branch office and potential printery at Lusaka, Zambia, construction materials were purchased with funds provided by Witnesses in other lands. Materials and equipment that were not available locally were trucked into Zambia as donations to the work there.
A Witness in Ecuador, in 1977, donated an 84-acre [34 ha] piece of land. Here an Assembly Hall and a new branch complex were constructed.
Local Witnesses in Panama opened their homes to accommodate volunteer workers; some who owned buses provided transportation; others shared in providing 30,000 meals that were served at the construction site.
For workers at the project in Arboga, Sweden, one congregation baked and sent 4,500 buns. Others sent honey, fruit, and jam. A farmer near the building site, though not a Witness, provided two tons of carrots.