How Our Money Can Praise God
“Good Hopes” Provide Financial Sinews for Expansion
TODAY Jehovah is having a great work done in the earth. A work of preaching the good news of his established kingdom so that men of good will who sigh and cry for the abominations they see committed in the land may be able to flee modern Babylon and find protection in Jehovah’s system of things, the modern ark. (Ezek. 9:4; Matt. 24:14-16, 37-39; Rev. 18:4, NW) A work of sounding the warning of impending destruction at the battle of Armageddon. (Ezek. 3:17; Rev. 16:14-16, NW) And, above all, a work of praising God by clearing his name of reproach, by making known the truth of who he is and what his purposes are.—Ex. 9:16; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 43:10-12.
During the past year upward of 456,000 shared in this work, of whom more than 18,000 devoted from 100 to more than 200 hours monthly. This work was carried on in more than a hundred different languages and dialects and in 127 different lands and isles of the sea.
Jehovah’s servants spent close to 70 million hours in this work during 1952. Not by human might, nor by power, but only by Jehovah’s spirit were they able to accomplish all this. (Zech. 4:6, AS) That spirit, coming upon them as a result of their study of God’s Word and their association with his organization, motivated them to give the witness at every opportunity: to callers at the home, to business acquaintances, to traveling companions, etc. And to make opportunities for themselves they stood on the streets offering Bible magazines and invitations to Bible lectures to the passers-by. They went from home to home offering to teach all whom they met the wonderful truths concerning Jehovah and his kingdom. They made some 22 million return visits on the people, and monthly conducted about 280,000 Bible studies in the homes of the interested ones, held upward of 240,000 public meetings, not to say anything of the many, many millions of pieces of literature they distributed.
EXPANSION INVOLVES EXPENSE
It hardly needs to be mentioned that to accomplish such a tremendous work, to have it done harmoniously and systematically, requires organization, which in turn involves much expense. Branch offices are maintained in many lands, instructions are furnished the ministers both by printed page and by visits from the traveling representatives of the Society. Circuit, district, national and international assemblies are arranged for to instruct and encourage the ministers as well as to give a witness to the truth regarding Jehovah. Full-time ministers, missionaries and those known as “pioneers” are provided with literature at a rate far below the cost of printing it; in fact, often the shipping costs alone exceed the amount these contribute for the Bible literature they obtain for placing with the people. Upward of 2,000 ministers have been brought from all parts of the earth for intensive training at the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, the majority of whom are now serving at home and abroad in various special capacities, especially at missionary homes which are provided for and kept up by the Society. Court cases are fought in all parts of the world for the purpose of legally establishing and defending the good news.
Further, in many distant lands the servants of Jehovah are in very poor circumstances as regards material goods, unable to defray the financial burden that the expansion of the Kingdom message entails in their land. In other parts of the earth there are only a handful of witnesses, with much opposition to overcome. The radio is used in various lands, and at the headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, there is a radio station devoted entirely to preaching the truth of God’s Word.
Yes, we cannot escape it; to carry on such a tremendous witness work involves much expense. But it has always been thus. Building the ark and stocking it with the food and other supplies that eight persons and all the many animals needed for more than a year involved no small expense on the part of the four married couples that bore the burden of carrying out God’s commandments at that time. However, we cannot imagine their begrudging it, as though they would rather have amassed riches in that system of things, for they fully knew that it was coming to an end, and that soon.
When the time came for the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness and furnishing the necessary equipment for it and the ones serving in connection with it, Moses announced Jehovah’s command: “Procure from your company a contribution for the LORD; everyone whose heart is willing is to bring it, the LORD’S contribution.” (Ex. 35:5, AT) When the time came for the construction of Solomon’s temple, King David first of all set the example by contributing some $81,000,000 in gold alone, and then asked: “Now who will make a voluntary offering today like one consecrating himself to the priesthood?”—1 Chron. 29:5, AT.
When Jesus was on earth this matter of defraying the expenses of the expansion of true worship also had to be dealt with, and so we read that certain women “were ministering to them from their belongings”. (Luke 8:2, 3; see also John 12:6, NW) And the apostle Paul repeatedly referred to the part that contributions played in his ministry.—2 Cor. 11:8; 12:13, 14; Phil. 4:10, 15, 17, NW.
THE SCRIPTURAL WAY
How shall the necessary means be acquired to support the work in our day? By charging for various religious services? By passing the collection plate? By sponsoring bingo games, raffles, bazaars and carnivals? By soliciting pledges and then sending statements each month as to amount due?
Are such the examples the Bible gives us? No, not at all! When Moses made it known that contributions were needed, the people responded so willingly that they had to be commanded to stop bringing gifts. (Ex. 36:5-7) A like liberality was manifested in David’s time, causing him to exclaim: “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort?” (1 Chron. 29:14, AS) Yes, it was not necessary to bribe, dun, embarrass or shame Jehovah’s servants into making contributions to God’s cause. All that was necessary was to bring to their attention the opportunity to contribute, and they freely responded to the extent of their individual abilities.—2 Cor. 8:12, NW.
And so today. Even as the Society calls to our attention our privileges of having a part in the expansion of true worship by devoting our time and energies to it, so once each year, in the columns of The Watchtower, we are reminded of our privilege of honoring Jehovah with our substance, even as we do with our vocal powers, and that we advise the Society what we hope to be able to do in this regard.—Prov. 3:9.
This in no sense of the word constitutes a pledge, for the Society does not make comparisons at the end of the year between the amount each one listed and what was received. Then why does it request this information? Merely because of the psychological effect on the ones giving? No, such worldly wisdom does not motivate the Society. It requests this information simply so that it can plan the work for the coming year, knowing what to expect, since to a large extent the expansion depends upon the amount of contributions received.
And just as the missionary or pioneer minister must intelligently budget his time if he is to meet his quota of hours each month, so it is well that those not so favorably situated as to time for field service, but having the privilege of contributing of their goods to Jehovah’s service, budget themselves as regards their finances. Such is in keeping with Paul’s admonition, as found at 1 Corinthians 16:2 (NW): “Every first day of the week let each of you at his own house set something aside in store as he may be prospering.”
This privilege is not just for those blessed with an abundance of this world’s goods, but also for those with but the widow’s few coins of very small value, even as the field ministry is not just for those who can devote all their time, but also for those able to devote but an hour or two a month. (Mark 12:41-44, NW) And just as we do not let our activity in regard to our field ministry be determined by what others may think, so in our giving of material things, “let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7, NW) By the proper use of our material goods, “unrighteous riches,” we can make friends of Jehovah God and Christ Jesus and be assured of permanent dwellings when this old system of things fails. Nor is it amiss to note that in this matter also “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving”.—Acts 20:35, NW.
Those living in the United States, and who wish to co-operate in this matter, may address their card or letter to Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Treasurer’s Office, 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn 1, New York. In writing about these “Good Hopes”, something such as the following may be stated: “It is my hope that during the next twelve months I will be able to donate to the work of praising Jehovah the amount of $‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐, which contributions I will make in such amounts and at such times as prove convenient to me and as I am prospered, by the undeserved kindness of Jehovah God through Christ Jesus. [signed]” It may be well to keep a copy of your card or letter as a reminder to yourself. On page 258 is a list of other branch office addresses, and a complete list is found on the last page of the Yearbook.
Appreciating that all depends upon Jehovah’s direction and blessing, his servants will unite in mutual prayer to that end.—Ps. 127:1, AS.
In everything you are being enriched for every kind of generosity, which produces through us an expression of thanks to God; because the ministry of this public service is not only to supply abundantly the wants of the holy ones but also to be rich with many expressions of thanks to God.—2 Cor. 9:11, 12, NW.