Are You Receiving “Food at the Proper Time”?
WE LIVE in the most challenging time of all human history. (2 Tim. 3:1-5) Our love for Jehovah and our determination to live by his righteous standards are tested each day. Jesus foresaw this troubled time, and he assured his followers that they would receive the encouragement they needed to endure to the end. (Matt. 24:3, 13; 28:20) In order to strengthen them, he appointed a faithful slave to provide spiritual “food at the proper time.”—Matt. 24:45, 46.
Since the appointment of the faithful slave in 1919, millions of “domestics” of all languages have been gathered into God’s organization and are being spiritually fed. (Matt. 24:14; Rev. 22:17) However, the same amount of material is not available in all languages, and not all individuals have access to the electronic forms of our publications. For example, many do not have the videos and the articles published only on jw.org. Does this mean that some miss out on receiving the food they need to remain spiritually healthy? To arrive at the correct conclusion, consider the answers to four key questions.
1. What is the primary ingredient in the food that Jehovah provides?
When Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread, Jesus replied: “Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every word that comes from Jehovah’s mouth.” (Matt. 4:3, 4) Jehovah’s words are recorded in the Bible. (2 Pet. 1:20, 21) Therefore, the Bible is the primary ingredient in our spiritual food.—2 Tim. 3:16, 17.
Jehovah’s organization has made the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures available in whole or in part in over 120 languages, and more languages are being added each year. In addition to that translation, billions of copies of other versions of the Bible are available in whole or in part in thousands of languages. That astounding achievement is in harmony with Jehovah’s will that “all sorts of people should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:3, 4) And because “there is not a creation that is hidden from [Jehovah’s] sight,” we can be sure that he will draw those who are “conscious of their spiritual need” to his organization and provide spiritual food for them.—Heb. 4:13; Matt. 5:3, 6; John 6:44; 10:14.
2. What role do our publications play in providing spiritual food?
For a person to develop strong faith, he needs to do more than read the Bible. He must understand what he reads and apply what he learns. (Jas. 1:22-25) An Ethiopian eunuch in the first century appreciated that fact. He was looking at God’s Word when the evangelizer Philip asked him: “Do you actually know what you are reading?” The eunuch replied: “Really, how could I ever do so unless someone guided me?” (Acts 8:26-31) Philip responded by helping the eunuch gain an accurate knowledge of God’s Word. The eunuch was so moved by what he learned that he got baptized. (Acts 8:32-38) Similarly, our Bible-based publications have helped us gain an accurate knowledge of the truth. They have touched our emotions and have motivated us to apply what we learn.—Col. 1:9, 10.
Through the publications, Jehovah’s servants are given an abundant supply of spiritual things to eat and drink. (Isa. 65:13) For instance, The Watchtower, available in over 210 languages, explains Bible prophecy, increases our comprehension of deep spiritual truths, and motivates us to live by Bible principles. Awake! magazine, published in some 100 languages, broadens our knowledge of Jehovah’s creative works and shows us how to apply the Bible’s practical counsel. (Prov. 3:21-23; Rom. 1:20) The faithful slave provides Bible-based material in more than 680 languages! Do you set aside time each day to read the Bible? Do you read each new magazine and all the new publications made available in your language each year?
In addition to producing publications, Jehovah’s organization prepares Bible-based outlines for talks that are delivered at our meetings, assemblies, and conventions. Do you enjoy the discourses, dramas, demonstrations, and interviews that are presented at those gatherings? Jehovah certainly provides us with a spiritual banquet!—Isa. 25:6.
3. If you do not have access in your language to all the publications that are produced, will you become spiritually undernourished?
The answer is no. And it should not surprise us that some of Jehovah’s servants might, at times, have access to more spiritual food than others do. Why not? Consider the apostles. They received more instruction than many other disciples in the first century did. (Mark 4:10; 9:35-37) Even so, the other disciples were not spiritually undernourished; they received what they needed.—Eph. 4:20-24; 1 Pet. 1:8.
It is also worth noting that much of what Jesus said and did while on earth is not recorded in the Gospel accounts. The apostle John wrote: “There are also, in fact, many other things that Jesus did, which if ever they were written in full detail, I suppose the world itself could not contain the scrolls written.” (John 21:25) Even though Jesus’ first-century followers had more information about the perfect man Jesus than we do, we are not deprived. Jehovah has made sure that we know enough about Jesus for us to be his footstep followers.—1 Pet. 2:21.
Think, too, of the letters sent by the apostles to the first-century congregations. At least one letter written by Paul was not preserved in the Bible. (Col. 4:16) Is our spiritual food inadequate because we do not have access to that letter? No. Jehovah knows what we need and has given us enough to keep us spiritually strong.—Matt. 6:8.
Jehovah knows what we need and has given us enough to keep us spiritually strong
Today, some groups of Jehovah’s servants have more spiritual food available to them than others have. Do you speak a language in which only a few publications are available? If so, know that Jehovah cares for you. Study the material you have, and if possible, attend the meetings in a language that you understand. And be assured that Jehovah will keep you spiritually strong.—Ps. 1:2; Heb. 10:24, 25.
4. If you do not have access to material that is published on jw.org, will you become spiritually weak?
On our Web site, we publish copies of our magazines and other Bible-study publications. The Web site also provides material that helps couples, teenagers, and those with young children. Families benefit by considering this material in their Family Worship sessions. In addition, our Web site reports on special programs, such as Gilead graduations and the annual meeting, and it keeps our global brotherhood informed about natural disasters and legal developments that affect Jehovah’s people. (1 Pet. 5:8, 9) The Web site is also a powerful preaching tool, making the good news available even in lands where our work is restricted or banned.
However, you can remain spiritually strong whether you have access to our Web site or not. The slave has worked hard to provide enough printed material to keep each domestic spiritually well-fed. Therefore, you should not feel obligated to buy a device just to access jw.org. Some may make private arrangements to print a limited amount of material published on our Web site and give it personally to those who do not have Internet access, but congregations are not required to do this.
We are grateful to Jesus for keeping his promise to care for our spiritual needs. As these difficult last days rapidly draw to a close, we can be confident that Jehovah will continue to provide spiritual “food at the proper time.”