“The Blessing of Jehovah—That Is What Makes Rich”
ALL of us want to be blessed. The American Heritage College Dictionary says that blessings promote “happiness, well-being, or prosperity.” Since Jehovah is the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect present,” every real, lasting blessing originates with our loving Creator. (James 1:17) He showers blessings upon all mankind, even upon those who do not know him. Jesus said of his Father: “He makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) However, Jehovah shows special concern for those who love him.—Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Job 1:1; 42:12.
The psalmist wrote: “Jehovah himself will not hold back anything good from those walking in faultlessness.” (Psalm 84:11) Yes, those who serve Jehovah have rich, meaningful lives. They know that “the blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” The Bible also says: “Those being blessed by [Jehovah] will themselves possess the earth.” (Proverbs 10:22; Psalm 37:22, 29) What a blessing that will be!
How can we receive Jehovah’s blessing? For one thing, we need to cultivate qualities that are pleasing to him. (Deuteronomy 30:16, 19, 20; Micah 6:8) We see this in the example of three of Jehovah’s servants in ancient times.
Jehovah Blesses His Servants
Noah was an outstanding servant of God. At Genesis 6:8, we read: “Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah.” Why? Because Noah was obedient. The account says: “Noah walked with the true God.” Noah upheld Jehovah’s righteous principles and obeyed his commands. At a time when the world had sunk into violence and depravity, Noah was moved “to do according to all that God had commanded him. He did just so.” (Genesis 6:9, 22) As a result, Jehovah directed him to construct “an ark for the saving of [Noah’s] household.” (Hebrews 11:7) In this way, Noah and his family—and through them the human race—survived the destruction of that generation. And Noah died with the hope of being resurrected to the prospect of eternal life on a paradise earth. What rich blessings he received!
Abraham too had qualities that pleased Jehovah. Foremost among these was faith. (Hebrews 11:8-10) Abraham left a comfortable life in Ur and later in Haran because he had faith in Jehovah’s promise that his seed would become many and be a blessing for all nations. (Genesis 12:2, 3) Despite long years of testing, his faith was rewarded when his son Isaac was born. Through him, Abraham became the ancestor of God’s chosen nation, Israel, and eventually of the Messiah. (Romans 4:19-21) Moreover, he is “the father of all those having faith,” and he came to be called “Jehovah’s friend.” (Romans 4:11; James 2:23; Galatians 3:7, 29) What a meaningful life he lived, and how richly he was blessed!
Consider, too, the faithful man Moses. Outstanding among his qualities was his appreciation of spiritual things. Moses turned his back on all the riches of Egypt and “continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27) After 40 years in Midian, he returned to Egypt as an old man and stood up to the greatest power of the time, Pharaoh, to demand freedom for his brothers. (Exodus 7:1-7) He saw the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and the destruction of Pharaoh’s armies. Jehovah used him to give the Law to Israel and to mediate His covenant with the new nation. For 40 years, Moses led the nation of Israel in the wilderness. His life had a real purpose, and he enjoyed wonderfully rich blessings of service.
These accounts demonstrate that the lives of those who serve God are truly meaningful. As Jehovah’s people develop such qualities as obedience, faith, and appreciation of spiritual things, they are richly blessed.
How are we blessed? Well, while millions within Christendom suffer from spiritual famine, we can be “radiant over the goodness of Jehovah.” (Jeremiah 31:12) Through Jesus Christ and “the faithful and discreet slave,” Jehovah has provided a bountiful supply of spiritual food that helps us to remain on “the road leading off into life.” (Matthew 7:13, 14; 24:45; John 17:3) Association with our Christian brotherhood is another rich blessing. At meetings and on other occasions, being with fellow worshipers who demonstrate love and who earnestly endeavor to put on “the new personality” is a source of great happiness. (Colossians 3:8-10; Psalm 133:1) However, our greatest blessing is the precious privilege of having a personal relationship with Jehovah God and of following in the footsteps of his Son, Christ Jesus.—Romans 5:1, 8; Philippians 3:8.
Reflecting on such blessings, we realize how precious our service to God really is. Perhaps we think of Jesus’ parable of a traveling merchant who sought out fine pearls. Jesus said of this man: “Upon finding one pearl of high value, away he went and promptly sold all the things he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:46) Surely that is how we feel about our relationship with God, our privilege of serving him, our Christian association, our Christian hope, and all the other blessings related to our faith. There is nothing more precious in our lives.
Give Back to Jehovah
Because we recognize Jehovah as the Giver of every good gift, our hearts are stirred to express appreciation for the blessings we receive. How can we do that? One way is by helping others to enjoy these same blessings. (Matthew 28:19) In over 230 lands, Jehovah’s Witnesses are busy visiting their neighbors to do just that. As they do so, they expend their limited personal resources—time, energy, and material possessions—to assist others to “come to an accurate knowledge of truth.”—1 Timothy 2:4.
Consider the pioneers living in Glendale, California, U.S.A. Every Saturday morning, they travel about 65 miles [100 km] round-trip to visit a federal detention center. Even though they can spend no more than a few hours on each visit with the prisoners, they are not discouraged. One of them says: “It is so rewarding to serve in this unique territory. We are doing it with much joy. We have so many interested ones that it is hard to keep up. Presently, we are studying with five people, and four others have requested a Bible study.”
Zealous Christian ministers are happy to offer their services free of charge to perform this lifesaving work. They reflect the attitude of Jesus, who said: “You received free, give free.” (Matthew 10:8) Millions around the world are engaged in similar unselfish service, and as a result, crowds of honesthearted ones are responding and are becoming disciples. In the last five years alone, nearly 1.7 million have dedicated their lives to Jehovah. Caring for the needs of this ongoing expansion requires the production of Bibles and Bible-based publications as well as the building of new Kingdom Halls and other meeting places. Where does the money to supply these needs come from? Entirely from voluntary donations.
Because of the poor economic conditions in some parts of the world, many struggle to provide the bare necessities of life for their families. According to the magazine New Scientist, one billion people spend at least 70 percent of their household income on food. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters are in that situation. Without help from fellow believers, they simply could not afford such things as Christian publications or suitable Kingdom Halls.
Of course, that does not mean that such ones are content to let others carry their load. But they need assistance. Moses, when encouraging the Israelites to make material contributions as a way of thanking Jehovah for their blessings, said: “The gift of each one’s hand should be in proportion to the blessing of Jehovah your God that he has given you.” (Deuteronomy 16:17) Hence, when Jesus saw a widow contribute “two small coins of very little value” in the temple, he praised her to his disciples. She did what she could. (Luke 21:2, 3) Similarly, Christians in poorer circumstances do what they can. And if there is a deficiency, it can be supplied by contributions from fellow Christians who are not so materially poor.—2 Corinthians 8:13-15.
When we give back to God in such ways, it is important that we have the right motive. (2 Corinthians 8:12) Paul said: “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 9:7) By giving freely from the heart, we both support the theocratic expansion that is now taking place and increase our own joy.—Acts 20:35.
Sharing in the preaching work and making voluntary contributions are two ways that we can give to Jehovah in return for the blessings he has given us. And how encouraging it is to know that Jehovah wishes to bestow his blessing upon many more sincere ones, who presently may not know him! (2 Peter 3:9) Let us, therefore, continue to use our resources in God’s service so as to find honesthearted ones and assist them to develop such qualities as obedience, faith, and appreciation. That way, we will have the joy of helping them to “taste and see that Jehovah is good.”—Psalm 34:8.
[Box on page 28, 29]
Ways in Which Some Choose to Give
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLDWIDE WORK
Many set aside, or budget, an amount that they place in the contribution boxes labeled “Contributions for the Worldwide Work—Matthew 24:14.”
Each month congregations forward these amounts either to the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York, or to the local branch office. Voluntary donations of money may also be sent directly to the Treasurer’s Office, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201-2483, or to the branch office that serves your country. Jewelry or other valuables may be donated as well. A brief letter stating that such is an outright gift should accompany these contributions.
Money may be donated under a special arrangement in which, should the donor have a personal need, the donation may be returned to him. For more information, please contact the Treasurer’s Office at the address noted above.
In addition to outright gifts of money and conditional donations of money, there are other methods of giving to benefit Kingdom service worldwide. These include:
Insurance: The Watch Tower Society may be named as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or in a retirement/pension plan.
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.
Stocks and Bonds: Stocks and bonds may be donated to the Watch Tower Society as an outright gift.
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. Contact the branch office in your country before deeding any real estate.
Gift Annuity: A gift annuity is an arrangement whereby one transfers money or securities to the Watchtower Society. In exchange, the donor, or the individuals designated by the donor, receives a specified annuity payment every year for life. The donor receives an income-tax deduction the year the gift annuity is established.
Wills and Trusts: Property or money may be bequeathed to the Watch Tower Society by means of a legally executed will, or the Watch Tower Society may be named as a beneficiary of a trust agreement. A trust benefiting a religious organization may provide certain tax advantages.
As the term “charitable planning” implies, these types of donations typically require some planning on the part of the donor. To assist individuals desiring to benefit the worldwide work of Jehovah’s Witnesses through some form of charitable planning, a brochure has been prepared in English and Spanish entitled Charitable Planning to Benefit Kingdom Service Worldwide. The brochure was written in response to the many inquiries received regarding gifts, wills, and trusts. It also contains additional useful information on estate, financial, and tax planning. And it is designed to help individuals in the United States who are planning to make a special gift now or to leave a bequest at death to select the most advantageous and efficient method in the light of their family and personal circumstances. This brochure may be obtained by requesting a copy directly from the Charitable Planning Office.
After reading the brochure and conferring with the Charitable Planning Office, many have been able to assist Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide and at the same time, maximize the tax benefits of doing so. The Charitable Planning Office should be informed of and receive a copy of any relevant document pertaining to any of these arrangements. If you are interested in any of these charitable planning arrangements, you should contact the Charitable Planning Office, either in writing or by telephone, at the address listed below or at the office of Jehovah’s Witnesses that serves your country.
CHARITABLE PLANNING OFFICE
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
100 Watchtower Drive,
Patterson, New York 12563-9204
Telephone: (845) 306-0707