“Where Does the Money Come From?”
VIEWERS of the Watch Tower Society’s video “Jehovah’s Witnesses—The Organization Behind the Name” are impressed. They see clean-cut men and women from various races and backgrounds, smiling and working together in harmony. Not only do the thousands of happy workers catch their attention but so does the large complex of buildings at the Society’s Brooklyn headquarters and at their farms at Wallkill, New York. The video shows that inside these buildings can be found up-to-date technology—high-speed printing and binding equipment producing many millions of publications each month, a panoply of computer equipment, and a full array of support services.
This reflects a tremendous outlay of resources. So some ask, “Where does the money come from?”
Visitors to the Society’s world headquarters are similarly impressed. They crane their necks to view the new 30-story residence building, one of many buildings used to house the more than 3,000 volunteer ministers who work there. A visit to the new Watchtower Educational Center about 70 miles [110 km] north of Brooklyn also leaves many standing in awe. Still under construction, it accommodates some 1,200 workers. Two classes of missionaries will be trained there each year and sent abroad to their assignments. It is also from this location that direction is given to the more than 10,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States. Many branches worldwide have also recently enlarged their facilities or are in the process of doing so. To carry out all these operations takes a good deal of money. People ask, “Where does the money come from?”
The answer is that it comes from ordinary individuals like any of us. They are persons, worldwide, who desire to do all they can to further the vital Christian work of preaching and teaching. Such a willing spirit is not without precedent.
The Example Set by Ancient Israel
Over 3,500 years ago, a need for generous contributions arose. Jehovah had instructed Moses to have a tabernacle, or “tent of meeting,” constructed to be used in His worship. The divinely given design called for a variety of precious items. Jehovah commanded: “From among yourselves take up a contribution for Jehovah. Let every willing-hearted one bring it as Jehovah’s contribution.” (Exodus 35:4-9) How did the people respond? The account tells us that “they came, everyone whose heart impelled him, and they brought, everyone whose spirit incited him, Jehovah’s contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments.” This “voluntary offering” gradually became so large that it was ‘much more than what was needed for the work that Jehovah commanded to be done.’ (Exodus 35:21-29; 36:3-5) What a selfless, generous spirit the people displayed!
Less than 500 years later, a call again went out for a generous contribution from the Israelites. King David’s desire to build a permanent house for Jehovah in Jerusalem was about to be realized through his son Solomon. David himself gathered and contributed a major portion of what would be needed. Others joined in when David issued the call to bring “a gift for Jehovah.” The result? “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 22:14; 29:3-9) The silver and gold alone would be worth about $50 billion at current values!—2 Chronicles 5:1.
We note from these examples that no one was coerced into giving. It was strictly “voluntary” and given “with a complete heart.” Jehovah would not have been pleased with anything less. Similarly, when the opportunity arose to contribute money to aid needy Christians, the apostle Paul wrote that it was not to be “as something extorted.” He added: “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”—2 Corinthians 9:5, 7.
The Need Today
Is there a need for contributions today? Indeed there is, and there will be even more so as time progresses. Why?
Christians have been given specific instructions for this time of the end. Jesus commanded his disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—Matthew 28:19, 20.
To accomplish this great teaching and preaching work as we move ever closer to the finale of “the conclusion of the system of things” takes considerable time and resources. Why? Because of all that is involved in carrying the message of God’s Kingdom “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Most people are not well versed in the Scriptures as were the first-century Jews. In fact, a goodly number of earth’s inhabitants are not even acquainted with the Bible and do not regard it as the Word of God. Preachers must be trained and sent to distant lands. (Romans 10:13-15) And think of the number of languages involved! Those preached to need to have Bibles and Bible-based publications to read and study in their own language. To reach all systematically and progressively bring them to spiritual maturity so that they can aid still others requires organization on a grand scale.—2 Timothy 2:2.
Jesus said that the “good news of the kingdom” must first “be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) So now is the time to devote all that we can to get that vital work done. Our resources can be put to no better use before material wealth ceases to be of any practical value.—Ezekiel 7:19; Luke 16:9.
Where Does the Money Go?
The Watch Tower Society publishes Bible literature in over 230 languages, as well as in Braille for the blind and videos in sign language for the deaf. That requires teams of translators and proofreaders in each language. Just to think of doing all this work, especially for the Watchtower magazine, which is published each month in 121 languages and simultaneously in 101 of them, staggers the imagination. Yet it is necessary so that people earth wide can have and read the same information. Every year there are increases in the cost of paper and other materials used in producing the Kingdom message in printed form or audio or video recordings. Such costs have to be defrayed by using donations from the brothers.
The preaching and teaching work is carried on in territories covered by over 75,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide. To unify and encourage them, trained traveling overseers visit each congregation about twice each year. Assemblies also play a vital role in imparting instruction. Large facilities must be rented for the conventions, which are so faith strengthening. Your contributions are also used for these purposes.
While assemblies are generally held only three times a year, local congregations assemble for five weekly meetings. (Compare Exodus 34:23, 24.) The influx of new ones responding to the good news has meant the addition of thousands of new congregations each year. With the help of millions of dollars in loans dispensed through the Society, hundreds of new Kingdom Halls are constructed each year, and many others are renovated and expanded. Although this is a rotating fund that is used over and over, the demand keeps increasing.
One area where there has been unprecedented growth is in the nations in Eastern Europe that were subject to the former Soviet Union. How joyful was the progressive news that the work had opened up in these places! Now missionaries are being sent to many of these countries. New branches have been established in some lands, swelling the number of volunteer ministers who staff the worldwide Bethel family to over 15,000. Of course, branch buildings to house them have to be bought or constructed. Your contributions help to fill the need.
All this work has not gone unnoticed by Satan and his demons. They do all they can to thwart the efforts of Jehovah’s faithful servants or make problems for them. (Revelation 12:17) This means an increasing load of legal battles to protect the rights of God’s people to preach and live in harmony with his righteous laws. Additionally, the ravages of war in Satan’s system of things, as well as natural disasters, means that relief supplies are often needed for our stricken brothers and sisters and others with them. Your contributions help supply this vital aid.
Jehovah Will Reward You
Generously using our time and resources to promote the Lord’s work brings great blessings. How so? Because God, to whom ultimately all things belong, will reward us. Proverbs 11:25 states: “The generous soul will itself be made fat, and the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered.” Jehovah is indeed pleased when we do our part to advance his worship. (Hebrews 13:15, 16) He promised the ancient Israelites who would bring in the contributions required under the Law covenant: “‘Test me out, please, in this respect,’ Jehovah of armies has said, ‘whether I shall not open to you people the floodgates of the heavens and actually empty out upon you a blessing until there is no more want.’” (Malachi 3:10) The spiritual prosperity that Jehovah’s servants enjoy today is evidence that God keeps his promise.
This grand work of declaring to all the day of salvation and helping honesthearted ones on the road to life will not continue forever. (Matthew 7:14; 2 Corinthians 6:2) But all those of the Lord’s “other sheep” must be gathered. (John 10:16) How imperative it is to meet that challenge today! And how happy each of us will be, in looking back from that new world of righteousness, to say, ‘I had a full share in that final ingathering work’!—2 Peter 3:13.
[Box on page 30, 31]
How Some Make Donations to the Kingdom-Preaching Work
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLDWIDE WORK: Many set aside or budget an amount that they place in the contribution boxes labeled: “Contributions for the Society’s Worldwide Work—Matthew 24:14.” Each month congregations forward these amounts either to the world headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, or to the local branch office.
GIFTS: Voluntary donations of money may be sent directly to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201-2483, or to the Society’s office that serves your country. Jewelry or other valuables may also be donated. A brief letter stating that such is an outright gift should accompany these contributions.
CONDITIONAL-DONATION ARRANGEMENT: Money may be given to the Watch Tower Society to be held in trust until the donor’s death, with the provision that in the case of personal need, it will be returned to the donor.
INSURANCE: The Watch Tower Society may be named as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or in a retirement/pension plan. The Society should be informed of any such arrangement.
BANK ACCOUNTS: Bank accounts, certificates of deposit, or individual retirement accounts may be placed in trust for or made payable on death to the Watch Tower Society, in accord with local bank requirements. The Society should be informed of any such arrangements.
STOCKS AND BONDS: Stocks and bonds may be donated to the Watch Tower Society either as an outright gift or under an arrangement whereby the income continues to be paid to the donor.
REAL ESTATE: Salable real estate may be donated to the Watch Tower Society either by making an outright gift or by reserving a life estate to the donor, who can continue to live therein during his or her lifetime. One should contact the Society before deeding any real estate to the Society.
WILLS AND TRUSTS: Property or money may be bequeathed to the Watch Tower Society by means of a legally executed will, or the Society may be named as a beneficiary of a trust agreement. A trust benefiting a religious organization may provide certain tax advantages. A copy of the will or trust agreement should be sent to the Society.
PLANNED GIVING: The Society has prepared an English-language brochure entitled “Planned Giving.” Those in the United States who are planning to make a special gift to the Society now or to leave a bequest at death may find this information helpful. That is especially true if they wish to accomplish some family goal or estate-planning objective while using tax benefits to minimize the cost of the gift or bequest.
For more information regarding any of the above matters, write to the Treasurer’s Office, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201-2483, or to the Society’s office that serves your country.