IN FULFILLMENT of Jesus’ prophecy concerning the last days, Jehovah’s Witnesses have carried the ministry of the good news “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8; Matt. 24:14) To do this, they have freely given of their time and energy in sharing spiritual things. Trusting in Jehovah to provide for his fellow workers, they continue to put God’s Kingdom first in their life. (Matt. 6:25-34; 1 Cor. 3:5-9) The results are clear evidence of Jehovah’s approval and blessing.
CARING FOR KINGDOM INTERESTS WORLDWIDE
2 When noting our preaching methods and realizing that we distribute Bibles and Bible literature without charge to the public, some will ask: “How is all of this possible?” True, printing and producing Bibles and Bible literature costs money. Constructing and maintaining Bethel homes for ministers who operate printing presses, oversee the preaching work, and serve in other ways to advance the good news also costs money. In addition, circuit overseers, field missionaries, special pioneers, and others in special full-time service are given some material assistance to help them continue in the work. Clearly, the work of preaching the good news in our day, whether locally or worldwide, involves the outlay of large sums of money. Where does it all come from?
3 Many who appreciate the Bible educational work of Jehovah’s Witnesses are happy to donate to the worldwide work. However, our work is primarily supported by the Witnesses themselves, some of whom send voluntary contributions to local branch offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They demonstrate a willing spirit like that of God’s ancient servants who generously supported the building of Jehovah’s place of worship. (Ex. 35:20-29; 1 Chron. 29:9) Some gifts are received from estates through wills, while other contributions come from individuals, congregations, and circuits and are usually given in small amounts. Added together, these gifts provide the funds that keep the ministry going.
Jehovah’s Witnesses consider it a privilege to use their money and other resources to advance the preaching work
4 Jehovah’s Witnesses consider it a privilege to use their money and other resources to advance the preaching work. Jesus and his disciples maintained a money box from which funds were taken to care for expenses. (John 13:29) The Bible tells us of women who ministered to Jesus and his disciples. (Mark 15:40, 41; Luke 8:3) The apostle Paul gratefully accepted material assistance lovingly provided by those who were interested in advancing the good news and who wished to have a share in his ministry. (Phil. 4:14-16; 1 Thess. 2:9) Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to follow these ancient patterns of zealous service and generous giving. Thus, it is possible for honesthearted ones everywhere to be offered “life’s water free.”—Rev. 22:17.
CARING FOR THE NEEDS OF THE LOCAL CONGREGATION
5 The expenses of the local congregation are also covered by voluntary contributions. No collections are taken; nor is there an assessment of dues or a solicitation of money. Contribution boxes are provided at meeting places so that each person can have a part in giving “just as he has resolved in his heart.”—2 Cor. 9:7.
6 Money contributed is first of all used to pay for the operation and upkeep of the Kingdom Hall. The body of elders may decide that some of the money could be sent to the local branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses for use in furthering the worldwide work. A resolution to this effect would be adopted by the congregation. In this way, many congregations make regular contributions to the worldwide work. When all are alert to local needs that arise from time to time, frequent announcements regarding contributions should not be necessary.
7 After each meeting, two brothers remove any money that has been deposited in the contribution boxes and make a record of it. (2 Ki. 12:9, 10; 2 Cor. 8:20) The body of elders will make appropriate arrangements for safeguarding these funds until they can be forwarded to the branch office or used for congregation needs. The brother handling the congregation accounts prepares a monthly statement to inform the congregation, and every three months the coordinator of the body of elders arranges for an audit of the accounts.
8 Expenses incurred for assemblies, as well as other circuit expenses, are covered by contributions from the Witnesses making up the circuit. Contribution boxes are provided at assembly facilities so that voluntary contributions can be made to the circuit. Additionally, to care for ongoing expenses, congregations may provide contributions at other times.
9 Ideally, circuits should be able to cover any necessary expenses, with surplus funds being donated to the worldwide work. If there are not enough funds in the circuit account to pay expenses for the assembly or to meet initial expenses for the next assembly, such as a deposit to secure the use of a facility, the circuit overseer may direct that congregations be advised of the privilege to contribute. Each body of elders will discuss the matter and determine what contribution the congregation would be able to make to the circuit fund. They would then handle this contribution by means of a resolution.
10 When financial matters arise that require the attention of the circuit elders, a circuit elders’ meeting will be held on the day of a circuit assembly. All decisions other than those involving selected circuit expenses should be handled as resolutions adopted by the elders. These resolutions must be written in exact amounts and presented for approval each time circuit funds are dispensed.
11 Arrangements are made for a periodic audit of the circuit accounts.
CARING FOR THE POOR
12 One purpose of the money box maintained by Jesus and his disciples was to help the poor. (Mark 14:3-5; John 13:29) That Christian responsibility has continued, for Jesus said: “You always have the poor with you.” (Mark 14:7) How do Jehovah’s Witnesses care for this responsibility today?
13 At times, faithful ones in the congregation may be in need of material assistance because of advanced age, infirmity, or some adversity beyond their control. Family members, relatives, and others who become aware of such a need may feel moved to help. This is in harmony with the words of the apostle John: “Whoever has the material possessions of this world and sees his brother in need and yet refuses to show him compassion, in what way does the love of God remain in him? Little children, we should love, not in word or with the tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:17, 18; 2 Thess. 3:6-12) True worship includes looking after faithful ones who may be in need of material assistance.—Jas. 1:27; 2:14-17.
14 In his first letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul explained how material assistance may be provided to deserving ones. You can read his counsel at 1 Timothy 5:3-21. The primary responsibility rests with each Christian to care for the needs of his own household. Older or infirm ones should receive assistance from their children, grandchildren, or other close relatives. At times, material assistance is available through governmental or social programs, so relatives or others may help the needy one to apply for such assistance. A situation might arise in which it becomes necessary for the congregation as a whole to consider providing some form of assistance to certain needy brothers and sisters who have a long history of faithful service. If there are no family members or other relatives to assist such ones and no adequate assistance from government agencies is available, the body of elders can make appropriate recommendations to provide some help. Christians consider it a privilege to share their material possessions with those in need.
15 Many brothers and sisters may come to be in need because of persecution, wars, earthquakes, floods, famines, or other calamitous occurrences that are common in these critical times. (Matt. 24:7-9) Local congregations may not have anything to share with one another, so the Governing Body coordinates the efforts of brothers elsewhere to provide what is needed. This is similar to the way Christians in Asia Minor provided food for the brothers in Judea during a time of famine. (1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 9:1-5) By following their example, we confirm our love for our brothers and show ourselves to be genuine disciples of Jesus Christ.—John 13:35.
16 Bibles and Bible literature play an important role in spreading the Kingdom message. Usually a ministerial servant is assigned by the body of elders to look after the congregation’s supply of literature. The brothers assigned to look after these supplies take their responsibilities seriously. They keep good records so that adequate supplies are on hand to care for the needs of the congregation.
17 As dedicated Christians, we recognize that our time, mental and physical assets, talents and material possessions, even our very life are gifts from God and intended for use in his service. (Luke 17:10; 1 Cor. 4:7) By making proper use of all our resources, we demonstrate the depth of our love for Jehovah. It is our desire to honor Jehovah with our valuable things, knowing that he is pleased with any gift that is given as an expression of whole-souled devotion. (Prov. 3:9; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 21:1-4; Col. 3:23, 24) Jesus said: “You received free, give free.” (Matt. 10:8) As we give of ourselves and our resources in Jehovah’s service, we in turn receive the greater joy.—Acts 20:35.