1982 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Marked Evidence of Increased Kingdom Fruitage!
Throughout the past year, Jehovah’s Witnesses have kept before themselves Psalm 145, particularly the yeartext from Ps 145 verses 10 and 11: “Your loyal ones will bless you. About the glory of your kingship they will talk.” How, then, did their work of talking about Jehovah’s kingship progress during the 1981 service year, the period of 12 months, September 1980 to August 1981 inclusive?
This public preaching by Jehovah’s Witnesses is truly an essential part of their worship of Jehovah. The 145th Psalm beautifully describes what Jehovah’s worshipers do, and this his witnesses have done during the past service year. They have exalted and blessed their “God the King.” (Ps 145 Vs. 1) They have praised his name, making Jehovah’s wonderful works their concern. (Ps 145 Vs. 5) To others they have spoken of God’s goodness, graciousness and mercy. (Ps 145 Vss. 7, 8) In all of this they have emphasized Jehovah’s kingdom and have warned of Jehovah’s purpose to annihilate the wicked. (Ps 145 Vs. 20) Truly they have demonstrated that they desire to see “all flesh bless his holy name to time indefinite, even forever.” (Ps 145 Vs. 21) Some highlights of the activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses as ministers of the message of Jehovah’s kingdom during their past service year are set out in this Yearbook report. It is our hope that this report will prove to be interesting and stimulating to those who read it.
The work that is being accomplished by the earth-wide congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is very significant, and the understanding and appreciation of this can lead to wonderful personal blessings. As the report shows, there are millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses and persons who have associated with their congregations, and in addition, there are many persons who have some interest in what Jehovah’s Witnesses are doing. As in the first century, there is increase “from day to day.” (Acts 16:5) Would it not be a wonderful development if all these millions of persons understood and appreciated the significance of the increasing proclamation of the message of Jehovah’s kingdom, and in love for Jehovah dedicated themselves to him? They could then share more fully in informing other persons of Jehovah’s kingdom and his purposes. Should they choose to do so, what a tremendous increase in the activities outlined in the 145th Psalm would result, all to Jehovah’s praise!
Significant it is that following the establishment of Jehovah’s heavenly kingdom by Christ Jesus in 1914, and as early as the end of World War I in 1918, there were 3,868 proclaimers of the Kingdom message. This little band was active in 14 countries. Ten years later their ranks had grown to a total of 23,988 active in 32 countries, and by 1938, 47,143 were proclaiming the message of God’s established kingdom and his purpose toward mankind in 52 lands of the earth. Coming down to 1948, we find a peak of 260,756 reporting their ministry in 96 countries, which grand worldwide total increased in another 10 years to 798,326 in 1958, the number of countries reached by them increasing that year to 175. Then the peak of Kingdom proclaimers grew by 1968 to 1,221,504; 1978, 2,182,341; 1981, 2,361,896, and the lands reached totaled 206 nations and island groups all around the globe.
These Kingdom proclaimers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, recognize that their work of preaching and teaching the life-giving truths contained in God’s Word the Bible is definitely part of their worship of Jehovah and constitutes a major portion of their public ministry. It has been said that their house-to-house ministry is a “trademark” of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is to be expected in the case of true Christians in view of the Bible’s precedents and commands.—Matt. 4:17; 28:19, 20; Acts 10:42.
Indicative of what can be accomplished if all who are associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses participate in telling others of Jehovah’s Kingdom arrangement is the Memorial attendance of the past three years. Celebrating the Memorial of the death of Christ Jesus each spring, according to the reports received from around the world, were 5,323,766 in 1979; 5,726,656 in 1980; and 5,987,893 on April 19, 1981.
The chart appearing on pages 24-31 shows that during the 1981 service year 2,361,896 persons were active publishers of the Kingdom message. This is a thrilling figure because it is the highest in the history of the Christian congregation. That is a joy to us, and we feel it will be a joy and an encouragement to you. As we have seen, twice that number associated with the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses for the celebration of the death of our Redeemer, Christ Jesus, now our reigning King. What a wonderful opportunity lies before these persons to demonstrate individually their love for Jehovah, and their loyalty to his kingdom, by each one’s calling the attention of others to Jehovah’s loving purposes. In this way these join in demonstrating their appreciation of the great significance of the Kingdom proclamation, which in itself is part of the evidence that God’s kingdom has been established in heaven.—Matt. 24:14.
CONSTRUCTION AND EXPANSION
Through their religious organization, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (and related religious associations, corporations and societies in various countries), Jehovah’s Witnesses operate 96 branches throughout the world. The branch offices oversee the proclamation of the Kingdom message in the various countries as this is carried on by the ministers of God’s kingdom, Jehovah’s Witnesses. During the past several years reports have been published by the Society relative to expansion of branch facilities. In some countries this expansion has been in the form of enlarging existing facilities. In others there has been a relocation of branches; land was acquired and new structures were erected. All this expansion has been done to provide adequately for the needs of each branch in its handling of the increase in the work of the Christian congregation.
These branches and their facilities are provided for the sole purpose of equipping the modern-day Christian organization to do the great work of which Jesus spoke and which is due to be accomplished in these “last days.” (Matt. 24:14; 2 Tim. 3:1) Jehovah’s Witnesses are formed into a worldwide ministerial organization preaching the Kingdom message in 206 lands and islands of the sea. Many of the branches have printeries where Bibles, books and magazines, as well as other literature, are produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses for Bible study and for aiding others to learn of Jehovah’s provisions through Christ Jesus, mankind’s Redeemer. Since it is incumbent upon Jehovah’s Witnesses to do this preaching work, their production and distribution of the Kingdom message by printed page in the publications they provide is an essential and integral part of their faith and worship. The printing and distribution of their publications spread the truths contained in the Bible far and wide. This work is an evidence of the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a manifestation of their integrity, and is essential for the building up of the faith of other persons. So, all this Bible literature produced by the various printing branches is prepared in order to help persons grow in knowledge of Jehovah’s grand purposes.
We are very grateful that it has been possible to meet the needs of the branches with respect to their facilities. The costs monetarily have been high, as a result of the worldwide inflation. In each branch where it has been necessary to undertake these projects, Jehovah’s Witnesses have provided funds to meet the needs. This they have done by the gifts and loans that they have made to the Society for these specific purposes. We here express sincere appreciation for the support that Jehovah’s Witnesses in general have given to these efforts. On every hand we see evidence of Jehovah’s blessings on these projects and also on those who have made them possible, not only by means of financial support but by their labor in the construction of these facilities.
Just one example: the branch in Japan, engaged in a large construction project that they anticipate finishing in the summer of 1982, reports that during August 1981, they had a new peak of 63,447 publishers, a 12-percent increase over the same month of 1980. Outstandingly, the branch says: “There were some 44,000 publishers when we started the construction, but we have increased 44 percent in three years. We had 62,000 Bible studies when the construction began, but now some 90,000 studies are reported, a 45-percent increase. This is very encouraging to us as we see the nearness of the end. The pioneer spirit is still strong, almost every month the rate of the pioneers has been around 30 percent to 33 percent of all publishers; among them 10,238 are regular pioneers.”
A contrast in size, but similar in spirit, the Solomon Islands branch also refers to their branch office and Bethel home which was dedicated in June 1981. The branch says, “after working on the renovations and extensions to the original property since 1978, the brothers were keenly looking forward to seeing the completed project and sharing in the dedication weekend. Many had been saving their money for some time for the trip over from their home island of Malaita, and for a week or so before the dedication the interisland boats were crowded with brothers and sisters, some bringing live chickens, pigs and bags of sweet potatoes and cassava to share a meal together at the dedication. Others were coming from Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and as far as the United States for the occasion. They went through the fine two-story building to see the results of the brothers’ work.” Here, as in the many other projects, the bulk of the labor was supplied by Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is very much appreciated.
As observers know, the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses provide Kingdom Halls for their congregation meetings and other activities. Jehovah’s Witnesses provide the facilities for the printing of the Kingdom message, and they also distribute the publications in their efforts to help people to understand the Bible. This entire service is a work of ministry, of worship of Jehovah and proclamation of the message of his kingdom and the day of his vengeance.
THE INTERNATIONAL BETHEL FAMILY
Each branch is staffed by ministers who comprise the Bethel family and in the printing branches these ministers produce the Society’s publications as part of their sacred service. An example of the dedication and productiveness of these faithful ones in the various branches is seen in the activities of the Bethel family in the United States. In order to meet the demands upon the branch organization, these have worked many thousands of hours in addition to their regular daily work. Those looking after the Bethel home in Brooklyn had to do so, and the same was true of the work force at the Brooklyn printery, where just one example is that there were only five weeks of the year that the pressroom was running on its normal single shift. With the conversion to offset printing, the requirement of extra hours will continue for an indefinite time. In the United States branch a large number of the Bethel family are serving at Watchtower Farms where there are both farming and printing operations, the latter producing the Watchtower and Awake! magazines. There also, extra hours were willingly devoted by the Bethel family in order to meet the needs of the work. Indeed, Bethel is a place for production, and we wish to express appreciation for the diligence of the international Bethel family everywhere in caring for their assignments.
In reporting their activities, the branches throughout the earth have expressed their warm love for the entire brotherhood of the earth-wide Christian congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We are very glad to convey here to all these this assurance of love and loyalty from Jehovah’s people everywhere.
THE CONGREGATIONS ARE APPRECIATED
As the chart shows, the end of the service year finds 43,870 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide. Christians sincerely appreciate the congregations, their meetings and their ministerial activities, and often they must put forth great effort to attend the Kingdom Hall where each congregation gathers. Jehovah’s Witnesses know the spiritual value of attending, and so real effort is expended by them, not only to reach the people with the Kingdom message and to study the Word of God with interested ones, but also to fortify themselves spiritually by taking advantage of the congregation provisions.—Heb. 10:24, 25.
For instance, in Papua New Guinea one young minister walks seven hours each way every week to conduct a Bible study with a married couple, and this couple in turn walks seven hours each week to attend the public talk and Watchtower study at the Kingdom Hall. In thus making the meetings of the congregation a high priority, these persons are showing heavenly wisdom and appreciation of spiritual things, which are of real value. In that same country a small group of ministers who are serving as pioneers walked 25 miles to attend the meetings of the nearest congregation, and then they returned the same distance to their territory to do their ministry among the people.
The activity of congregations is most interesting and effective. In Chile, a small congregation of 21 publishers had ordered 1,000 handbills for the special talk in April 1981, but due to problems in the mail, the handbills arrived the night before the talk was to be given. This was the first Sunday of the month, and all 21 publishers covered a good portion of the town with the invitations, making short visits on the people from house to house. They managed to distribute all the handbill invitations and how overjoyed they were that afternoon when 98 persons attended the public talk!
In all the congregations of Jehovah’s people, there is a program of Bible instruction, generally comprising five meetings weekly. Every week there is a public meeting and study of the Watchtower magazine as well as congregation studies in another of the Society’s publications. Also, there is the Theocratic Ministry School and the service meeting. These combine to give needed information, counsel, guidance and assistance in spiritual matters. They constitute a major portion of the feeding on spiritual truths needed by each servant of Jehovah. In these and other areas the congregation provides essential services for Christians. The Scriptures show that an individual cannot serve Jehovah on his own, cannot come to an understanding of His Word by himself, nor cope with the difficult “last days” without the congregation. The outcome of all those who endeavor to do so proves the truthfulness of God’s Word on this matter.—Prov. 18:1.
Wherever you live, in all probability there is a Kingdom Hall within your reach. Perhaps you have never attended any of the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but whether you have or not you are invited to attend, and we believe that you will find the occasion to be interesting, encouraging and spiritually upbuilding to you. Generally you will find those who attend the meetings to be friendly and helpful, and you will certainly be welcomed.
PUBLISHERS, OLD AND YOUNG
Seven columns of the chart of the year’s activity have to do with “publishers.” You will see the peak or largest number of publishers reporting in any one month in each of the countries listed and the ratio of publishers to population of the country. The average publishers are shown with a percentage of increase or decrease as compared with the preceding service year of 1980, and for that year the average number of publishers is listed. Then we have the figures for newly baptized, and pioneers.
The term “publisher” is a convenient one to use in referring to ministers of Jehovah’s Witnesses participating in the public preaching from house to house and contacting the general public with the Kingdom message in other ways. These have reported their activity to the congregations with which they are associated, and it is from these individual reports that the worldwide report is compiled. In some lands communications are difficult, and there are persons living there who are ministers but whose reports are not received for some reason. Perhaps some overlook reporting, and so the figures given are conservative. Pioneer publishers are those who are spending their full time in their public ministerial activities.
The contributions that the Society receives from Jehovah’s Witnesses enable the Society to care for the needs of those who are devoting their full time to the ministry in the capacities of missionaries, circuit and district overseers, and special pioneers. During the past service year of 1981, the cash costs for supporting these full-time ministers throughout the world totaled $21,116,480.89. This compares with $22,588,894.17 for the service year of 1980, and $20,136,626.07 in 1979. These funds have been well spent in aiding Jehovah’s Witnesses in their special full-time service, and we are most appreciative that Jehovah’s people as a whole have made this possible.—1 Cor. 4:2.
Jehovah’s Witnesses know that there is no furlough in their spiritual warfare, and some of them are advanced in years. Others are young in years, many being young adults. These young people are finding the Christian ministry to be advantageous in every way, and especially is the good relationship with Jehovah, as a result of the individual dedication each one makes, essential during these difficult times when the serious problems of youths are so many and so devastating to young lives. Ministers of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are also parents endeavor to discharge their God-given responsibility toward their children with respect to matters of worship, and such is a blessing to entire families.
Young ministers have many fine opportunities to uphold Jehovah’s righteous standards. (Eccl. 12:1) An example of this is in the report from Hawaii where a young minister still in high school used a class assignment to share Scriptural views with her classmates. She states, “I had an assignment to give a speech with a convincing argument. So I decided to talk on abortion. I began my research and found information in the book Aid to Bible Understanding [a Watch Tower publication] on the definition of abortion. The May 22, 1980, issue of the magazine Awake! provided me with all the rest of the material I needed.
“The day came for my talk and the whole class was in attendance, which was very unusual. As I began my introduction, the students acted childishly and joked about what I was saying. But as I continued, fully convinced that the information would be beneficial for them, their attitude changed and they began to listen with more interest. Whenever they asked questions, I referred to Bible principles, which gave them something to think about. Last of all, I read to them ‘Diary of an Unborn Child’ from the Awake! [May 22, 1980]. There was complete silence. Some of the girls had tears in their eyes, while the students who had had so much to say in support of abortion remained silent.
“Then the teacher said that she was pregnant and was seriously contemplating having an abortion. She expressed how thankful she was to have a fuller understanding of the Bible’s view, especially how God feels about life and how he knows of every living creature under the heavens. Now she could never go through with the abortion.
“The students applauded, and I was so happy I used the opportunity to give a witness. Later on I was informed by the same teacher that she gave birth to a healthy baby.”
Sweden reports in regard to a teenager who received his teacher’s permission to conduct a 20-minute session in class with questions and answers about Jehovah’s Witnesses. The interest was so great that the session was prolonged and lasted three hours and 15 minutes. After the session all his 23 classmates asked for literature, and 55 bound books were placed. The young brother is arranging to become a regular pioneer. How worth while this young life!
In Africa, Christian parents were becoming very concerned about their teenage daughter because of her becoming more worldly in dress and association, but they hesitated to restrict her too much in case it might push her further away from the truth. Then came a crisis when the girl said she could not fight against the world. The parents prayed and discussed the situation, and then the father had a straight talk with his daughter. There was no outburst by the girl who said, “I have been praying that daddy would do something about it because I could not cope on my own.” She wrote to the circuit overseer, “When mom and dad clamped down on me, I knew they loved me and wanted me to be in the same happy family with them in the new order.”
With Armageddon drawing ever nearer, how encouraging for young people is the following from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who has been a faithful missionary for many years. She states:
“I was born in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. My parents felt that Armageddon would be right on its heels, so we children were encouraged from our very tender years to use our time wisely in this dying old system in Jehovah’s service. From the year the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead opened, when I was only four years old, my mother would talk to me about it and to have it as my goal. At the age of six years, after my first school term, I vacation pioneered. Each succeeding summer vacation I pioneered until I graduated from high school at which time I entered the pioneer service. Another thing that contributed to my formation was that, during my teenage years, my father arranged his work schedule so that he could be a regular pioneer, setting a good example for us children.
“I married a pioneer brother who had the same desire as myself, to go to the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, and as a couple that long-desired goal was achieved in 1960. That same happy year saw my brother invited to Bethel and my parents enter the circuit activity.
“I thank my parents and Jehovah God for the good training and encouragement I received in my youth that have contributed to more than 20 years of real joy in full-time service.”
My Book of Bible Stories continues to be a most effective instrument for use by younger and older ministers alike in assisting people to give attention to God’s Word. In an African country, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who works in a small factory displayed two copies of My Book of Bible Stories on his desk, one in English and the other in Afrikaans. He has placed more than 190 copies so far. A man who took a book gave it to his son, and the boy took it to school. The boy’s teacher read it and then ordered five copies, which they now use in the school class for morning worship.
In Sardinia, a 12-year-old girl is always ready to take the initiative in talking about the truth of God’s Word, and to this end she brings My Book of Bible Stories to school with her. She reads it during the school period for teaching the Catholic religion, from which class she has been exempted. A Catholic priest noticed her reading the book and asked to see it. After having examined it, he expressed his appreciation for it and invited the girl to read one of the stories to the entire class. After this was done, it was arranged for our young sister to read a story to her class every week, explaining it to her classmates. The priest has obtained a copy for himself so he can read this in other classes.
Somewhat similar is the experience of one of our young brothers attending school in Chile. There an 11-year-old lad has a regular assignment to teach his class religious subjects for which he uses My Book of Bible Stories, even giving his classmates written tests and grading them.
When a seven-year-old boy took his copy of My Book of Bible Stories to school, the teacher saw it and requested that the missionary of Jehovah’s Witnesses who left the book with the boy’s mother come to the school. The missionary paid a visit to the school and the teacher took 40 books for his entire Bible class, inviting the missionary to attend the weekly classes for discussions on the book.—Matt. 21:16.
This is a sampling of what is being done with the splendid publication My Book of Bible Stories and of the very commendable efforts on the part of publishers of all ages.
THE DAILY TEXT
Following the reports on the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses in various countries, the daily text and comments appear in this Yearbook. They are provided as an aid for daily Bible reading. Upon your arising, at the breakfast table or another family meal, during the evening, or at some other convenient time every day, your reading of the text and printed comments will be of value. Many read, not only the Scripture text as quoted in the Yearbook daily, but also the context in the Bible and make reference to The Watchtower from which the printed comment is taken.—Acts 17:11.
This Yearbook provision is much appreciated by Jehovah’s people. An example of this is reported from Australia. This concerns two of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a mother and her daughter, who live 20 miles apart on separate cattle stations. They wanted to have a daily text discussion, and so by means of their local radio network, known as the flying doctor radio network, they would discuss the text for the day every morning at 8:30. The daily discussion could be heard by all in the area if they desired to listen in. A woman 50 miles away, at 8:30 in the morning, told her visitor, “You will have to excuse me now, it’s time to go and listen to the text for the day.” This text discussion that is so important to these two women has been beneficial to listeners up to 360 miles (580 km) away. We encourage you to read the text and comments daily.
“NO PART OF THE WORLD”
True Christians have always been neutral as far as the politics and controversies of the nations of the world are concerned. During this time of increasing violence, violence such as the world has never before known, the neutrality of Jehovah’s Witnesses is not only a demonstration of loyalty to Jehovah and his kingdom but also a protection to Jehovah’s people. The position of Jehovah’s Witnesses with respect to this issue is clear and is well known in all lands. No doubt it is difficult for the officials of some nations to understand the neutrality of Jehovah’s Witnesses clearly, but the position of Christians has been plainly stated in the Bible and in the literature of the Witnesses. Hence, there should be no occasion to have any doubt as to where they stand nor as to the correctness of the position they take or have, that is, neutrality respecting the controversies of the world and the politics of the nations. This, of course, is necessary because Jehovah’s Witnesses are followers of Christ Jesus, and that was his position.—John 15:19; 17:14.
From a Latin-American country that is going through a period of tremendous crime and violence, filling the people with a paralyzing fear, come reports of the safeguard Christian neutrality is to Jehovah’s Witnesses in that land. There are more publishers of the Kingdom message in that strife-torn country than ever before, and they are conducting many thousands of home Bible studies with the people, even though their activity involves inconveniences and traveling under dangerous conditions. By identifying themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses many have had Jehovah’s protection. Their record of strict neutrality in political matters and of true Christian conduct has served as a protection, as the following experiences illustrate:
At 5:00 a.m. a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses waited for a bus to take them to their assignment for their work of preaching and teaching the Bible. Suddenly a group of masked and heavily armed men approached them and asked what they thought of a particular political group. The brothers explained that they were Jehovah’s Witnesses and did not take part in political matters. Their explanation was accepted and the group of men began to search the houses in the town looking for arms or enemies. As they were about to enter a brother’s house that also served as the local Kingdom Hall, they asked the neighbors if there were arms there. The answer was, “Only Jehovah’s Witnesses live in that house.” At that, the group decided not to enter because “those people do not have any problems with anyone.” By 8:50 a.m. the group of men had left the town and within a few minutes the military forces arrived and they too began a house-to-house search. In front of the Kingdom Hall they asked if the group of men had entered. The answer was, “No, because only Jehovah’s Witnesses live there.” So the soldiers said, “Well, we will not go in either because they are respectable people.”
Those who are dedicated to Jehovah and who take their stand squarely for his kingdom are indeed in a blessed position. They wisely identify themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses before belligerent forces of the world so that the respect that they deserve can perhaps be shown to them by such opposers. This has occurred in innumerable cases in all parts of the earth. In all countries, regardless of the state of the country with respect to armed hostilities, Christian neutrality must be maintained. Every one of Jehovah’s Witnesses confronts the issue in one way or another. Jehovah has made ample provisions for fortifying all spiritually, and we are wise in taking advantage of these.
STIRRING KINGDOM LOYALTY DISTRICT CONVENTIONS
While reports are coming in from many parts of the globe as to the stimulating success of the 1981 district conventions, the report for the United States is now complete: One hundred district conventions were held with the all-time peak attendance of 1,057,237. The number baptized was 8,734. The convention program was most upbuilding, and reports from all parts of the field show the appreciation of Jehovah’s people for this fine spiritual provision.
GILEAD TRAINING EXPANDED
Since 1943, when the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, located in New York State, began training full-time ministers for foreign service, well over 6,400 have graduated. These have been sent to more than 100 countries of the earth.
At the graduation of the 69th class of Gilead School, held in New York on Sunday, September 14, 1980, the announcement was made that an extension of Gilead training would be established at the Society’s branch office in Mexico. This began November 24, 1980, with 24 students enrolled. On Sunday, February 1, 1981, the 24 students graduated and received diplomas. They were assigned to eight countries in Central and South America. There was great joy on the part of all who attended this first graduation of the Gilead Cultural School of Mexico.
The second class commenced February 16 with 23 students. They graduated on Sunday, April 26, to serve in eight Latin-American countries. The third class began May 11 and graduated on Sunday, July 19. These 24 graduates were assigned to seven Central and South American countries. So, all together 71 graduates of the three classes have been sent out as teachers.
During the 1981 service year the 70th and 71st classes attended the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead in New York. The 70th class began October 20, 1980, with 49 students from 10 countries. All 49 graduated on Sunday, March 8, 1981, and were sent to 18 countries. The 71st class enrolled on April 20, 1981, with 27 students from eight lands. These graduated on Sunday, September 13, 1981, and were sent out to 13 countries.
For 1981 we are glad to report that the number of graduates for the New York school comes to 76 and for the school in Mexico to 71, bringing the combined total to 147 graduates assigned to 39 countries. This is the largest total for any one year since 1968. It is most encouraging to see well-trained persons going forth to many lands for the purpose of making known the good news of the Kingdom while there is yet time.
THE MOTIVE THAT IS WORTH WHILE
Jehovah’s Witnesses are active in behalf of other people as they engage in their earth-wide ministry. They are consistent in their stand on issues in whatever part of the world they may be situated, and they are unique in their high regard for the Word of God and their determined efforts to adhere to Jehovah’s requirements and principles. What is their motive? Several things are involved:
There is their recognition of what Jehovah God has done in their behalf, and so out of appreciation for this, they have love for God, and this is strengthened by their appreciation for what Jehovah is now doing and will yet do in their behalf. They know that if a person loves God, he will keep his commandments, and they know that one of his commands is to preach the good news of his established kingdom. Out of love for Jehovah they desire to do what they can to counteract the reproach that has come upon God’s name because of his being falsely blamed for mankind’s troubles and being slandered by false religious doctrines. So, basically it is love for Jehovah that moves his witnesses to continue as his ministers.
Then there is the matter of love for their fellowman, for their neighbor. They desire to put the spiritual interests of others ahead of their own personal convenience, being concerned with the destiny of other humans. So, it is really out of love for neighbor that they go from house to house, make return visits on those who are interested in the Word of God and conduct Bible studies with those who love the truth. This is out of neighbor love, neighbor affection.—Matt. 22:37-39.
Furthermore, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe God’s Word, and they know that “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” They want to sow generously and reap generously.—Acts 20:35; 2 Cor. 9:6.
Also, their own lives, as well as the lives of other persons, are involved because they do wish to be “clean from the blood of all men,” that is, free of bloodguilt, which would result from failure to warn of the coming judgment.—Acts 20:26; Ezek. 33:6.
So there are these high motives involved in the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the fact that they are preaching the Kingdom message worldwide is indeed significant. It constitutes a major part of the sign evidencing the establishment of the heavenly kingdom of Jehovah and its progress toward eliminating God’s enemies, so that it might truly bring about God’s purposes in respect to this wonderful earthly home he has made for man.
[Chart on page 24-31]
1981 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE