Use of One’s Resources in a Godly Way
“HONOR Jehovah with your valuable things,” says Jehovah’s inspired Word, the Holy Bible. These valuable things or resources are referred to in a song sung by the Christian witnesses of Jehovah. Called “Dedication,” the song, which appears in the booklet Songs to Jehovah’s Praise, says, in part: “Take my moments and my days, let them flow in constant praise; take my silver and my gold; nothing, Lord, would I withhold.”—Prov. 3:9.
Those words well express the Christian’s attitude toward his resources from the time that he makes a dedication to Jehovah God; indeed, from that time onward he is accountable to Jehovah for the use of his valuable things in a godly way.
USING TIME IN A GODLY WAY
Time is one of our valuable things for which God holds the dedicated Christian accountable. His time, yes, his very life, belongs to Jehovah God, for Christians are told they have been “bought with a price. By all means, glorify God in the body of you people.” Having been bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the Christian is not at liberty to use time in ungodly ways. “The time that has passed by,” wrote an apostle of Jesus Christ, “is sufficient for you to have worked out the will of the nations.”—1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 4:3.
Time formerly spent in selfish pleasures now is gladly used for honoring God, especially by helping others learn of God’s kingdom and how it will bring an end to this wicked system of things. “Because the days are wicked,” the inspired Scriptures warn, “keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves.” (Eph. 5:15, 16) The dedicated Christian “buys out” time by taking advantage of all his Christian privileges—personally studying the Word of God, attending meetings of the Christian congregation, sharing the good news, and so on—at the expense of less important things. He uses his time in a godly way.
USE OF ONE’S STRENGTH AND ENERGY
Another valuable resource that dedicated Christians possess is their strength. True, some are advanced in years and are limited in energy, but what they have they use to God’s glory. When you expend energy in God’s service and tire out, it is not a frustrating feeling but genuinely satisfying, for “your labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58) We thus want to imitate the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who gave so unstintingly of his energy in God’s service. On one occasion Jesus came to the Samaritan city of Sychar, and the Bible account says: “Now Jesus, tired out from the journey, was sitting at the fountain just as he was.” He was tired out from traveling in God’s ministry and so he was resting there, his disciples having been sent on ahead to buy foodstuffs. Yet when an opportunity opened up to honor God by using his mental and physical resources, Jesus, though weary, seized it to preach to the Samaritan woman who came to Jacob’s well. Many became believers as a result—because Jesus used his energy, though he was tired out, to honor God and do His will.—John 4:6-42.
On another occasion Jesus fell asleep during the daytime because of having given so wholeheartedly of his strength and energy in a godly way. Jesus and his disciples had boarded a boat to cross to the other side of the lake. “So they set sail. But as they were sailing he fell asleep.” Because he needed to renew his energy after spending so much in God’s service, Jesus fell asleep and slept so soundly that his disciples had to rouse him when a storm broke out, the strong wind and heavy waves not even waking him.—Luke 8:22-24; Matt. 8:24, 25.
What an example the Christian has in Jesus Christ, “the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith”! We should look intently at him, to imitate him in wise expenditure of energy, never squandering it on what is useless. Instead of dissipating energy on habits injurious to health, overindulging in hobbies and sports, keeping overly late hours or socializing excessively, he realizes his accountability to God for the way he uses his energy, so he expends it in a godly way.—Heb. 12:2.
USE OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES
The wealthy would be at an advantage if one could enrich God by his financial resources. But as David said in prayer: “Yours, O Jehovah, are the greatness and the mightiness and the beauty and the excellency and the dignity; for everything in the heavens and in the earth is yours.” (1 Chron. 29:11) Since everything is Jehovah’s, we cannot enrich him; but we can use our financial resources to honor and glorify him. This does not mean that all one’s money must be spent in the direct preaching of God’s kingdom or every penny put into a contribution box at the Kingdom Hall. No, some financial resources must be used to care properly for one’s personal needs and one’s family. This is using resources in a godly way, since “if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith.”—1 Tim. 5:8.
Nor does using one’s financial resources in a godly way require austere living; it does not require the Christian to forego everything that he could get along without. For instance, if one has the means, it would not be squandering his finances for him to buy a good rug for his home or a picture for the wall. True, one could get by without these things, but in most cases it would not be a misuse of one’s resources. What determines whether one is squandering his money or not? The circumstances, such as one’s income, one’s needs and the use an item is to serve. But if a Christian spends his money on things he would never use and that do not enrich his life, he is not using his resources in a godly way. Since circumstances vary, a purchase by one person could be proper use of funds, whereas another person making the identical purchase might be indulging in extravagance.
However, some uses of funds are wrong regardless of one’s circumstances. For example, one might say, ‘I have more money than I need and can afford to gamble.’ But gambling itself is wrong. So a Christian would never use his money in such a way. He is answerable to Jehovah God for the use of all his resources, not just a portion. It is never right to squander our resources.
Of course, whether one has little or much, as a dedicated Christian he has the privilege of using some of his funds to further the preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom, which is being done under the direction of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. He does this in various ways. For example, he personally cares for the expenses incurred in taking the Kingdom message to the people in his own territory. This may involve obtaining equipment with which to work, carfare, and so forth. Additionally, he has the privilege of contributing, as he is able, to help cover the expenses involved in maintaining a Kingdom Hall in which the congregation can meet, since these expenses are all cared for by the local congregations.
Besides these opportunities, those who are able to do so may send contributions directly to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Now, how will those funds be used? In a godly way. The Society uses funds, for instance, to operate printeries in Canada, Britain, France, Denmark, West Germany, Greece, India, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, South Africa, the United States of America and in still other countries, to provide Bibles and Bible-study aids. Members of the headquarters and branch office staffs, all of whom are ministers, receive an allowance of just $14 monthly. From the president of the Society and all the members of the board of directors down to the most recent addition to the family membership, all the family members receive the same allowance. They are devoting their lives to the advancement of the interests of the Kingdom of God, and their allowance simply helps them to care for personal needs and to defray expenses incurred in personally ministering to people in their territory.
The Society also maintains the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead in Brooklyn, New York, to which students are brought free of charge from all parts of the world, housed and fed, and given an allowance and free education for ten months. Then they are sent out into foreign assignments in every quarter of the earth, to work closely with fellow Christians in preaching the vital Kingdom message.
There are also the preachers of God’s kingdom known as missionaries and special pioneers, who are provided direct financial assistance by the Society so they will be able to spend all their time in the actual preaching work. Last year the Society spent $2,808,000 to enable them to preach the good news in all the inhabited earth. An additional $495,000 was spent by the Society to help the circuit and district servants, to the number of 1,983, to carry on in their full-time service, visiting and spiritually strengthening congregations and arranging for Christian assemblies. These full-time proclaimers of the Kingdom, along with other full-time workers such as regular and vacation pioneers, all receive, at less than cost of production, Bible literature that they place, in order to enable them to meet their expenses more easily. In such ways the Society puts into active use the funds that it receives in order that the urgent preaching work foretold at Matthew 24:14 may be realized by the Christian witnesses of Jehovah. Thus the Society uses all its resources in a godly way.
To help the Society to direct and expand the Kingdom preaching, congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the world, as they are able, send contributions directly to the Watch Tower Society to support the worldwide preaching work. Jehovah’s witnesses as individuals as well as other persons who desire to aid in the advancement of this work of education in the Word of God have the same privilege. These contributions are sent to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201. Those living in other lands send their contributions to the nearest branch office.
The Society appreciates it when individuals who do contribute send a note to the Society or any of its branch offices about this time of year stating that during the year to come they hope to be able to contribute a certain amount directly to the Society for furtherance of the good news. The Society does not view this as a pledge, but, rather, as an estimate of what each one will give of his financial resources if Jehovah prospers him accordingly. This is a great help to the Society in planning its work.
Whatever his circumstances, the dedicated Christian honors Jehovah with his valuable things. And we all have a certain amount of time, energy and financial resources with which to honor God. Thus when Jehovah’s witnesses sing the song “Dedication,” at their Kingdom Halls, they really mean it. They use all their resources in a godly way.