Generously Opening the Hand to Those in Need
OUR God Jehovah leads the way when it comes to being generous. And this is not simply because as the Owner of all things he has the wherewithal to be generous. It is because he is the very personification of love and every generous sentiment. As the sweet singer of Israel declared: “You [Jehovah] are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.” (Ps. 145:16) He makes his rain fall and his sun shine upon even the least deserving ones. (Matt. 5:45) How thoughtful, how considerate he is of all of us tiny creatures on this small planet!
As for those who come near to worship him, he teaches them to strive to be like him in his dealings with others. Back in an age that some reputedly wise men of our time have viewed as “primitive,” this generous God instructed his worshipers as follows: “You should generously open up your hand to your afflicted and poor brother in your land.” (Deut. 15:11) With the inculcation of this teaching there would be no need for great charity drives or campaigns, no need to pay large salaries to professional fund-raisers. People would respond to the teaching and example of the One who “gives generously to all and without reproaching.”—Jas. 1:5.
Modern-day worshipers of Jehovah have also learned this lesson of generosity. They are deeply impressed with the words of their Lord and Master, Christ Jesus, namely: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Too, they have experienced the truth of those words, for they take note of the needy ones in their neighborhood and unobtrusively share with such ones their material goods. Also, when they hear of fellow worshipers of Jehovah in other parts of the earth caught up in some calamity, how swift they have been to come forward and insist upon sharing in special relief measures! They open their hands generously toward the needy ones.
SHARING A MORE PRECIOUS GIFT
There is, however, a greater need that Jehovah’s people have learned about, a need of multitudes throughout the earth, a need that Christ Jesus called attention to during his special ministry here on earth. Speaking on one occasion to a large crowd of needy ones, he counseled: “Work, not for the food that perishes, but for the food that remains for life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you.” (John 6:27) Again, he declared: “It is written, ‘Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.’”—Matt. 4:4.
So there is something much more valuable than those vital materials, bread and water. Jesus’ apostles were well aware of this. When accosted by a crippled beggar, for example, Peter said to the man: “Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I do have is what I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!” What was it they imparted to him? Not just the healing, though that was marvelous enough. It is evident that they aroused in the man a deep appreciation of the one in whose name the healing was done, Jesus of Nazareth, and of the One who sent Jesus into the world, Jehovah God. The account goes on to tell how the man was “walking and leaping and praising God” as he went into the temple.—Acts 3:6-8.
Today Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have that miraculous power to heal people of their physical infirmities, but they are glad and eager to share with others what they have. And what is that? An appreciation of Jehovah God and knowledge of his purposes toward mankind and this earth as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. To impart this knowledge to others they go out into the city streets and the countryside to find people who will listen to the information they have to offer. It is life-giving information, for Jesus in prayer to his Father in heaven said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3.
Christian witnesses spend many hours in this service, doing so at their own personal expense, just so they can openhandedly share with others the good things that they have received from God. Even if many to whom they go do not appreciate their motive, or even question the purity of their motive, these Witnesses go on with their work of searching out worthy ones, people who can learn to appreciate the Bible message.
And something that is worthy of note: No one needs to tell a true follower of Jesus Christ just what he should give in the way of material and spiritual help to those in need. No, for the Bible principle expressed at Deuteronomy 16:17 holds true with them: “The gift of each one’s hand should be in proportion to the blessing of Jehovah your God that he has given you.” And who knows the measure of the blessing that each one has received from God? Only God and Christ Jesus and the individual worshiper. So when a Christian meditates upon all the blessings that a generous God has showered upon him, he does not have to be urged to share with others. He is motivated by a grateful heart to do so.
ORGANIZED FOR GIVING
Having in mind the urgent need of multitudes around the earth to hear the lifegiving message of God’s kingdom, the association of Christian witnesses have organized for the satisfying of that need. To this end they have formed corporations in various lands, such as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania here in the United States of America. In accord with the requirements of the law in these many lands such corporations are used to care for technical matters, such as the printing and shipping of Bibles and Bible study aids in scores of languages, to handle the funds contributed by Jehovah’s Witnesses and their well-wishers, to provide for the services of traveling representatives and to care for a large variety of related activities.
None of the officers and directors of these corporations are salaried. All are happy to give of their time and energies for the advancement of this service of declaring the “good news of the kingdom” in all the earth. (Matt. 24:14) Then, too, there are some men and women who have turned away from the opportunities of obtaining lucrative positions with attractive possibilities in order to share in the needful activity of printing and preparing and shipping Bible literature to almost every part of the globe. They serve in over 90 branch offices and printing establishments maintained by Jehovah’s Witnesses in as many lands. They are glad that they can give the best years of their lives in a most unselfish service, receiving in return their food and living quarters and a small cash allowance to care for incidentals.
All these corporations, branch offices and printeries and their personnel, serve under the direction of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a body that represents and acts for all the spirit-anointed worshipers of Jehovah God on earth. Thus the dedicated efforts of all of Jehovah’s people are tied together for effective accomplishment of the work that God has decreed must be done before the end of this old system of things comes. (Mark 13:10) Over 2,000,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses are thus organized for the earthwide teaching and preaching service. They are all happy to share in the witnessing service in their own localities. Those they cannot personally reach in other regions and countries they reach in a united way, namely, through the services of the worldwide organization. They send their small contributions to the branch office in the country where they reside, even as those living in the United States of America send their gifts for the promotion of the Kingdom work to the Watch Tower Society at 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201.
Thus the words uttered by God’s own Son in his sermon on the mountain are most applicable in our time: “Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, since they will be filled.” (Matt. 5:6) The openhanded God by his spirit moves his worshipers on earth to follow his lead and reach out with spiritual succor to the needy multitudes, while at the same time not overlooking the material needs of worthy ones. And these loyal worshipers of the God from whom comes every perfect present thoroughly appreciate the corporate instruments by which they can share unitedly in reaching out and delivering their contributions and gifts to distant hungry and thirsty ones.
Truly we worshipers of such a God have a grand privilege! We can imitate his openhandedness and demonstrate that we are his sons and daughters. Great is our joy when the inspired description of a generous person can be applied to us: “The man is good who is gracious and is lending. . . . He has distributed widely; he has given to the poor ones. His righteousness is standing forever”!—Ps. 112:5, 9.