Use the Publications Wisely
1 None of us should be wasteful. Jesus classified as “unrighteous” a steward who handled his master’s goods wastefully. (Luke 16:1, 2, 8) In contrast, Jesus Christ, after distributing divinely provided loaves and fishes, told his disciples: “Gather together the fragments that remain over, so that nothing is wasted.” Do we personally show this same attitude toward provisions that Jehovah makes for us today?—John 6:12.
2 Jehovah does not “miraculously” multiply the publications used by his servants today, but provides such through the vigorous efforts of brothers working in the Society’s branches and the contributions of brothers all over the earth. And even though the Brooklyn and Watchtower Farms plants produced 45,718,920 books, 13,874,957 booklets and 268,509,382 magazines during the past service year, it has been necessary to enlarge the night shift and purchase additional machinery to keep pace with the constantly increasing demand for Bibles and literature. We are glad to do it.
3 But various reports state that many of the publications are, in a sense, not being used wisely. Oftentimes Bibles, books, songbooks and magazines are left unclaimed at Kingdom Halls and assembly sites or are discarded, though in good condition. Too, it is reported that many magazines are being ordered only to be discarded sometime after the issue date has passed. What can be done to ensure that these provisions from our heavenly Master are used wisely?
4 During the period of Bible writing, the Scriptures were hand copied on scrolls and were considered very valuable. Paul instructed Timothy: “When you come, bring the cloak I left at Troas with Carpus, and the scrolls, especially the parchments.” (2 Tim. 4:13) Just as Paul valued his clothing, having left his cloak with a trusted brother, so he valued those scrolls, entrusting their safe delivery to the care of Timothy. Having a similar appreciation for the Word of God today, parents will not allow their children to scribble in or otherwise damage Christian publications any more than they would be allowed to damage expensive clothing. The low price of the publications should not cause us to underestimate their value. Also we should have in mind that the cost of paper continues to increase and various types of paper are scarce on the market. Proper care of our Bibles, books, songbooks and magazines will extend their useful life and present a more respectable appearance in the field service and at congregation meetings. In this way, we not only imitate Jesus in not being wasteful, but additionally we glorify Jehovah by an attitude of appreciation.—Ps. 50:23.
5 Elders in a congregation may note that far more magazines are being ordered each month than are being placed by the congregation. If we notice that older magazines are accumulating in our home, why not make a special effort to distribute these to nursing homes and hospitals, or place them through informal witnessing or at not-at-homes? If we have more than we can use in this way, even though the magazines may be months old, why not ask the elders if others in the congregation can make use of them? If we find that our personal magazine order is regularly more than we are able to place, then it would be better to order fewer magazines.
6 Each one of us, whether young or old, can show appreciation for the provisions made through Jehovah’s organization. How? By using our Bibles and study aids wisely, seeing that they are not carelessly wasted, but are used for the purpose intended—to further the interests of pure worship.