“Do Not Loiter at Your Business”
Jehovah’s Christian witnesses have taken Paul’s advice to heart. They have not loitered at their business, and they can truthfully say they are “aglow with the spirit.” (Rom. 12:11) Indeed, they have made themselves slaves for Jehovah, and as the year’s report shows, many of them had to endure tribulation. They have persevered in prayer. They have shared with the holy ones according to their needs. They have followed the course of hospitality. As the 1,483,430 Christian witnesses gathered together in the 26,524 congregations, they saw in the Kingdom Halls their text for the year, namely: “Go therefore and make disciples . . . baptizing them.” (Matt. 28:19) Now as they reflect over the past twelve months they can truthfully say that Jehovah blessed them in their efforts, for, indeed, they did make disciples.
They were not only people who said they believed, but those who said it proved it by their works, as 164,193 dedicated their lives to God and were baptized. What a happy year Jehovah’s witnesses have had! What fruitage has been brought forth! Briefly let us review a few things that happened.
During the year there were, on an average, 13,426 special pioneers, including the missionaries engaging in the full-time service, putting in around 150 hours each month in the preaching work. There were about 800 more special pioneers than during the previous year. Throughout the entire world there were, on an average, 75,445 regular pioneers in addition to the special pioneers. This figure, of course, included 2,326 circuit servants and 290 district servants around the world. The average number of Christian witnesses engaging in the house-to-house work full time came to 88,871.
It was the congregation publishers, of which there were, on an average, 1,295,911, that helped these full-time workers stay in the field. In addition to their great shout of praise to Jehovah, they made contributions that helped keep the missionary and special pioneer, circuit and district servant in the full-time work. The Society spent $6,657,001.65, of which $5,874,970.56 was used to assist missionaries and special pioneers financially so that they could continue in the work. The balance of $782,031.09 covered the expenses of traveling representatives, circuit and district servants, going from congregation to congregation in different parts of the world.
The Society very much appreciates the generous contributions on the part of all of Jehovah’s witnesses. Every dedicated Christian witness of Jehovah has contributed something to advance the Kingdom witness. The widow’s mite, added to the gifts of those who could give more, has made this help given to missionaries, special pioneers, circuit and district servants possible. The Society wishes to thank all of you for your generous assistance.
The chart on pages 36 to 43 brought out some very interesting figures, but we might mention in the conclusion of this report that publishers have reported that they placed in the field 17,261,660 bound books, which is about three million more than last year. Additionally, they placed 10,207,675 booklets, obtained 2,464,196 new subscriptions and distributed, world wide, 204,758,521 magazines. That is what they reported doing, but many millions of tracts and handbills were distributed too.
Just think for a moment about what the printing plants of the Society had to do during the past twelve months! They actually finished 29,138,291 bound books and made 13,965,784 booklets. The Society’s many printing plants produced magazines, and the total came to 177,038,027 Watchtower magazines and 171,719,337 Awake! magazines. The magazines alone saw an increase in printing of 23 million over the previous year.
All of those who were aglow with the spirit certainly were not loitering. They were busy! And what joy they had! Together they all are rejoicing in the hope that is set before them. Some have endured tribulation, like those in Malagasy, Cameroon, behind the Iron Curtain. They may have lost all that they had in a material way, like our brothers in Peru and in the eastern part of Nigeria. When one takes a general look at the world one sees nothing but distress, and when we read the newspapers it sounds as though every man’s hand is against his neighbor. Civil war seems to be the order of the day. But as for Jehovah’s Christian witnesses, no matter what occurs they appreciate how Christ suffered and that he suffered for all of us. Peter put it this way: “Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely.” (1 Pet. 2:21) So today Jehovah’s witnesses can preach just as Jesus preached and take the persecution that he took, go from house to house as he did, and be faithful even to death as our Master admonished us all to be.
So let all of us together fight a fine fight for the faith and not loiter at our business. Look ahead now to the work to be done in the 1971 service year and have joy and gladness that you are counted worthy to share in this God-assigned work. Remember that there are still thousands of people in all nations to be discipled. At the same time we will continue to give the witness, even to the ends of the earth.
All of the branch servants sending in their reports made the special request that their love and greetings and the love and greetings of the brothers in their land be sent to all of their fellow Christian workers in all other parts of the earth. It is a pleasure through this means to extend to each one the brotherly love and tender affection that each one of us has for the other.
Our cup of joy is overflowing and this is due to the fact that we have kept very busy. This we desire to do in the future. May Jehovah’s rich blessing go with all of you, and remember that the prayers of your brothers always are ascending to the Most High God in behalf of one another. The love we have for Jehovah and for his Son, Christ Jesus, and for one another, will carry us through even the most difficult times. Be assured of my prayers and my warm love for all of you, as together we continue to be Jehovah’s Christian witnesses, bearing the good news of the Kingdom even to the ends of the earth.
Your fellow servant,
N. H. Knorr, President
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania