When Our Hearts Impel Us to Do All We Can
IT IS Nisan 12, 33 C.E. Jesus Christ is enjoying a meal with others in the home of Simon the leper at Bethany, near Jerusalem. Among those present is a faithful disciple named Mary. She breaks open an alabaster case and pours costly perfumed oil upon Jesus’ head.
‘Why such waste?’ some protest. ‘This oil could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor!’ But Jesus replies: ‘Let her alone, for you always have the poor with you and can do them good. But me you will not have always. She did all she could, putting perfumed oil on my body in view of my burial.’—Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8.
Mary of Bethany could do nothing to ease Jesus’ suffering when he was impaled just two days later—on Nisan 14, 33 C.E. But now she could anoint him with costly oil. So, as Jesus said: “She has done all she could.” (Mark 14:8, An American Translation) Indeed, Mary’s heart impelled her to do all she could.
Impelled to Do What We Can
As Jehovah’s Witnesses, or as individuals learning God’s truth, we may be eager to spread the good news of the Kingdom in these “last days.” (Matthew 24:14; 2 Timothy 3:1-5) In fact, we may be having a fine share in that work.
However, family responsibilities, health problems and other factors may not permit us to serve as a missionary in some distant land. We may not be able to be members of the Watch Tower Society’s headquarters or branch office staffs. It may not be possible for us to serve as traveling overseers, and the like. Nevertheless, we may not be prevented from using our resources in a way that will advance Kingdom interests. (Matthew 6:33) We may, indeed, be able to ‘honor Jehovah with our valuable things.’ In this there will be a blessing, for ‘our stores of supply will be filled with plenty.’—Proverbs 3:9, 10.
They Did What They Could
Yes, our spirit can be like that of Mary of Bethany and other godly persons of times past. To illustrate: the Israelites of Moses’ day were afforded the privilege of honoring Jehovah when the tabernacle for his worship was constructed. Not all could do the same things, but their hearts impelled them to do what they could. For instance, some women spun the goat’s hair that was used. Certain men served as craftsmen performing work of various kinds. And the people in general? Well, they honored Jehovah by giving gold, silver, copper, wool, linen and other things so that the tabernacle could be completed. The willing-hearted ones gladly made this “contribution for Jehovah,” and it was “a voluntary offering.” (Exodus 35:4-35) How much did they give? Why, the materials contributed “proved to be enough for all the work to be done, and more than enough”! (Exodus 36:4-7) Yes, they did what they could.
Many years later King David contributed very heavily toward the temple to be constructed by his son Solomon. David even gave his “special property” of gold and silver for that purpose. Then he asked the people of Israel: “Who is there volunteering to fill his hand today with a gift for Jehovah?” In response, princes and chiefs gave, and “what stones were found with any persons they gave to the treasure of the house of Jehovah.” This was not done grudgingly, for we are told: “The people gave way to rejoicing over their making voluntary offerings, for it was with a complete heart that they made voluntary offerings to Jehovah; and even David the king himself rejoiced with great joy.” (1 Chronicles 29:3-9) All of them did what they could.
As individuals, many early Christians contributed to the advancement of the Kingdom proclamation. For instance, the aged apostle John pointed out that members of the Christian congregation were under obligation to assist traveling representatives sent forth, “that we may become fellow workers in the truth.” John also commended Gaius for the hospitality he extended to “strangers,” that is, to those previously unknown to Gaius but whom he treated warmly because of the service they were rendering to the congregation. (3 John 5-8) Most witnesses of Jehovah in a particular area were not able to travel great distances in behalf of the “good news,” but they did what they could.
Entire congregations also used their material resources to promote the Kingdom work. For example, the apostle Paul could tell Philippian believers: “Even in Thessalonica, you sent something to me both once and a second time for my need. Not that I am earnestly seeking the gift, but that I am earnestly seeking the fruitage that brings more credit to your account.” (Philippians 4:15-17) The entire congregation could not travel with the apostle, but they did what they could.
How Some Have Felt
Jesus Christ said: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” So it is not surprising that God’s people rejoiced greatly upon making “voluntary offerings to Jehovah” in King David’s day. (1 Chronicles 29:9; Acts 20:35) A similar spirit exists today.
One witness of Jehovah wrote the Watch Tower Society, saying: “I am 81 years old and can’t get out much in the service [the field ministry] anymore on account of crippling arthritis, but I would like to do something in the carrying on of the service. I will send you a contribution every month as long as I am able and I would especially like to help those graduates [of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead] that go to foreign lands.” This elderly woman could not serve as a missionary herself, but her heart impelled her to do what she could.
Entire families have cooperated so as to share in contributing something for printing needs and the Society’s expansion program. One family wrote: “We felt moved as a family to have a share in this. . . . it made us very happy when our two young teenage sons approached us and expressed their desire to have a share also in our family’s contribution to the Society. Their share is from money they have saved from doing part-time jobs. We have been delighted with the many beautiful publications and bountiful spiritual food that is constantly being fed to us from Jehovah’s table.”
How It May Be Possible
Few among Jehovah’s Witnesses are materially rich, and many have to cope with economic problems today. Yet when they give a modest amount for the advancement of Kingdom interests they should never feel that their contribution is insignificant. When Jesus saw a needy widow drop two small coins into the temple treasury chest, he did not look down on her. Rather, he said: “I tell you truthfully, This widow, although poor, dropped in more than they all did. For all these dropped in gifts out of their surplus, but this woman out of her want dropped in all the means of living she had.” (Luke 21:1-4) Although her gift was small in literal value, she did what she could.
In order to have something to contribute, there usually has to be some planning, either on the part of individuals and families or by congregations. Accordingly, when a need arose among Christians in Judea, Corinthian fellow believers who wanted to aid them received a helpful suggestion from the apostle Paul. He wrote: “Now concerning the collection that is for the holy ones, just as I gave orders to the congregations of Galatia, do that way also yourselves. Every first day of the week let each of you at his own house set something aside in store as he may be prospering, so that when I arrive collections will not take place then.”—1 Corinthians 16:1, 2.
Just as a person might save some funds for an emergency, so individual Witnesses, families or congregations might regularly set something aside for a contribution to advance true worship. In fact, entire congregations frequently contribute surplus funds to advance the Kingdom work. They do so by preparing and passing resolutions to that effect. Willing-hearted individuals also find it possible to share in supporting Christian preaching activities throughout the earth by making personal donations for that purpose. This proper giving increases their happiness and gives them the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing what they can.
Donations received by the Watch Tower Society are acknowledged by letter. Individuals, families or congregations desiring to make such contributions may send them to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201, or to the nearest branch office of the Society.
All donations received by the Society are greatly appreciated and are used to spread the good news of God’s Kingdom. For instance, by such means missionary homes and activities are sustained in various countries. Also, printing facilities, vital to the dispensing of Bible literature, are thus kept in operation and expanded where necessary. Because of such contributions traveling circuit and district overseers are able to visit Christian congregations throughout the earth and give fellow believers spiritual assistance. (Romans 1:11, 12) Others in full-time ministerial work also are assisted in such a manner.
Early advocates of true worship received heaven’s blessing because they honored Jehovah with their valuable things. And how happy they were! As we similarly support Kingdom interests today, we, too, are richly blessed. Therefore, may our response be positive when our hearts impel us to do all we can.