Putting Jehovah to the Test
“Your contribution prospects” shows your willingness to put Jehovah to the test.
DARE dedicated Christians put the Creator, Jehovah God, to the test? Would not such a thing be presumptuous, to say the least?
True, as Jesus told Satan the tempter in the wilderness: “It is written, ‘You must not put Jehovah your God to the test.’” (Matt. 4:7, NW) But there is a wrong way and a right way to put Jehovah to the test. Jesus, in answering Satan’s temptation that he foolhardily jump off the pinnacle of the temple to prove that he was indeed the Son of God, was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:16 (NW), where Moses said: “The way you put him to the test at Massah.”
Massah was a place so named because there the Israelites quarreled with Moses and complained because of lack of water, saying: “Is Jehovah in our midst or not?” The word “Massah” itself means “Testing; Trial.” There the Israelites were making trial of Jehovah, actually dictating to him—‘If you’re in our midst, why don’t you give us water?’ That kind of putting Jehovah to the test is wrong, rebellious, presumptuous and wicked. It also is wrong for Christians to test Jehovah by taking needless chances or risks.—Ex. 17:7, NW.
However, there is a right way in which to put Jehovah to the test, a way in which he himself invites us to do so. How is that? By taking him at his word. As he says: “Bring ye the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” The postexilic Israelites had been neglecting Jehovah’s temple worship and Jehovah here was pointing out to them the folly of such a course.—Mal. 3:10, AS.
So we can properly put him to the test—in fact, are invited by Jehovah to do so—by bringing our tithes into the storehouse. What is his storehouse? What constitutes our tithes? And how can we bring our whole tithes into Jehovah’s storehouse today?
The storehouse in Malachi’s day was the rebuilt temple of Jehovah with its serving priests and Levites. That temple pictured the spiritual temple of God, today represented on earth by a “faithful and discreet slave” class, whom Jehovah has appointed “over all his belongings.”—Matt. 24:45-47, NW.
The tithe does not represent or picture our all, even though the number ten usually does. It could not, for we give our all once when we dedicate ourselves to Jehovah, whereas the Israelites gave their tithe regularly, year after year. The Israelite tithe was only a token of their all and was literally a tenth. Our tithe would likewise be a token of our dedication of our all, but it need not necessarily be a tenth nor need it be limited to a tenth. As the apostle Paul shows: “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. 8:12, NW.
And how can we bring in the tithes today? Well, there are both spiritual and material tithes that we are obligated to bring to Jehovah’s storehouse in our putting him to the test so as to gain his abundant blessing. We bring spiritual tithes by preparing for and attending the five weekly meetings at which pure worship is carried on; and not only attending these but making “public declaration of our hope” as opportunity affords, thereby inciting others “to love and right works.”—Heb. 10:23-25, NW.
We also bring in spiritual tithes when we share in preaching “this good news of the kingdom” “in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness.” This includes preaching from house to house, making return visits where we find those conscious of their spiritual need, as well as standing on the streets and offering Bible literature to passers-by and inviting them to the public lectures. All such spiritual tithes are the more important tithes and by bringing these into the storehouse we are putting Jehovah to the test and can expect him to pour out upon us such a blessing that we cannot contain it all. That Jehovah is pleased with such testing of him and is true to his word, every full-time and every zealous part-time minister can readily testify.—Matt. 24:14, NW.
THE MATERIAL TITHES
But that is not all. To carry on the preaching work world-wide requires funds. Thus we read that when Jesus and his apostles went from city to city preaching the good news many women accompanied them “who were ministering to them from their belongings.” (Luke 8:1-3, NW) So today, by contributing materially to the support of the preaching work, we also put Jehovah to the test. Such money donations, of course, are made voluntarily and not out of compulsion.
No such condition exists among Jehovah’s worshipers as that reported in the Rocky Mountain News, November 19, 1956, where a mother wrote that her clergyman had refused to “christen” her infant because, owing to circumstances, she was in arrears in her church dues. Nor is there any passing of collection plates, which, as reported in Time magazine, May 28, 1956, is one of the reasons why many older persons do not attend church as often as they once did. Rather, in the New World society Paul’s counsel is followed: “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.
There are many ways in which we can put Jehovah to the test by bringing in material antitypical tithes. One is by making voluntary contributions to sustain the local Kingdom Hall; another is by assisting our brothers who may be in need, especially full-time ministers; another way is by making contributions at the various assemblies we attend. In fact, even the expenses incurred in going to and attending such assemblies are part of bringing our tithes to Jehovah’s treasure house, thereby putting Jehovah to the test.
And especially do we bring in such tithes when we make donations directly to the Watch Tower Society headquarters or to one of its branch offices. These donations are used not only to provide for the thousands of full-time ministers, serving in various capacities, but also to defray the expenses of fighting costly court battles “in the defending and legally establishing of the good news.”—Phil. 1:7, NW.
As a result of putting Jehovah to the test by bringing in such material antitypical tithes it has been possible to organize and direct a tremendous world-wide preaching work. As the 1957 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses shows, during 1956 some 640,000 ministers had a share in preaching “this good news of the kingdom” in 162 different lands and they devoted more than eighty-seven million hours thereto. Truly Jehovah is proving true to his word and pouring out blessings upon those who bring in the whole tithe.
“YOUR CONTRIBUTION PROSPECTS”
We can show our willingness to put Jehovah to the test in the matter of bringing in material antitypical tithes by co-operating in the arrangement of “your contribution prospects,” by advising the Watch Tower Society by card or letter as to how much we have reason to believe we shall be able to and should contribute to the Society during the coming year. In this way the Society can properly plan its work and we shall have a definite goal in mind as to what we believe we can give. In each case these should be sent to the branch office of the land in which you live, there being eighty-one such offices throughout the world. Those living in the United States should address their card or letter to Watch Tower Society, Treasurer’s Office, 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn 1, N. Y.
How should “your contribution prospects” be worded? You might write something like this: “It is my hope that during the next twelve months I shall be able to donate to the work of preaching the good news of the Kingdom the amount of $—, which contributions I shall 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] On page 258 is a list of English-speaking branch offices. A complete list of all branch offices is to be found in the back of most Society publications.
Jehovah God does not need our “tithes” in a material way, not even our spiritual ones. But he has seen fit in his love and wisdom to give us the opportunity of putting him to the test by bringing our whole tithes, both material and spiritual, into his storehouse. To the extent that we do, to that extent we can expect Jehovah to pour out his blessing upon us individually, even as he is doing upon the New World society as a whole, and so much so that we shall not be able to contain it all.
Truly, there is an approved way in which we can put Jehovah to the test, and that to his praise and our everlasting blessing.