“O our God, we thank you and praise your beautiful name.”—1 CHRONICLES 29:13.
1, 2. How is Jehovah generous with us?
JEHOVAH is a generous God. Everything we have comes from him. He owns all the precious things of the earth, and he uses them to support life. (Psalm 104:13-15; Haggai 2:8) From the Bible, we learn how Jehovah sometimes used these precious things in a miraculous way to provide for his people.
2 For example, Jehovah provided manna and water for the nation of Israel when they lived in the wilderness for 40 years. (Exodus 16:35) As a result, they had everything they needed. (Nehemiah 9:20, 21) Later, Jehovah gave the prophet Elisha power to increase the small amount of oil that belonged to a faithful widow. This gift from God helped her to pay off her debts and still have enough money for her and her sons to stay alive. (2 Kings 4:1-7) And with Jehovah’s support, Jesus miraculously provided food and even money when needed.—Matthew 15:35-38; 17:27.
3. What will we discuss in this article?
3 Jehovah can use anything he chooses in order to support his creation. Still, he invites his servants to give what they can to support the work of his organization. (Exodus 36:3-7; read Proverbs 3:9.) Why does Jehovah expect us to use our valuable things to give back to him? How did Jehovah’s servants in Bible times support his work? How does the organization use the money that is donated today? This article will answer these questions.
WHY DO WE GIVE TO JEHOVAH?
4. What do we show Jehovah when we support his work?
We give to Jehovah because we love him
4 We give to Jehovah because we love and appreciate him. When we think about all that Jehovah has done for us, our hearts are deeply moved. King David felt this way when he explained what was needed to build the temple. David said that everything we receive comes from Jehovah and that anything we give to Jehovah comes from what he has already given us.—Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-14.
5. How does the Bible teach us that unselfish giving is an important part of true worship?
5 We also give to Jehovah because this is a way to worship him. In a vision, the apostle John heard Jehovah’s servants in heaven say: “You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they came into existence and were created.” (Revelation 4:11) Surely, Jehovah deserves all the glory and honor, so we want to give our very best to him. Through Moses, Jehovah commanded the nation of Israel to hold three festivals a year. Part of their worship at these festivals involved giving to Jehovah. The people were told not to “appear before Jehovah empty-handed.” (Deuteronomy 16:16) Today, too, an important part of our worship is unselfish giving. In this way, we show that we value and support the work of Jehovah’s organization.
6. Why is it good for us to give? (See opening picture.)
6 It is good for us to give generously and not just to receive. (Read Proverbs 29:21.) Imagine a young child who receives a small allowance from his parents and then uses part of it to buy his parents a gift. How does his gift make the parents feel? Or imagine a young pioneer who lives with his parents and gives them some money to help pay the rent or buy food for the family. His parents may not expect him to do so, but they accept his gift. Why? Because it is a way for him to show appreciation for all they do for him. In a similar way, Jehovah knows that it is good for us to give from our valuable things.
HOW GOD’S SERVANTS GAVE IN THE PAST
7, 8. How did Jehovah’s people in Bible times set an example when they contributed (a) for specific projects? (b) to support his work?
7 In the Bible, we learn that Jehovah’s people made contributions to support his work. Sometimes they gave for specific projects. For example, Moses encouraged the Israelites to contribute for the building of the tabernacle. Later, King David did the same for the building of the temple. (Exodus 35:5; 1 Chronicles 29:5-9) During the reign of King Jehoash, the priests repaired the temple using the money that people had given. (2 Kings 12:4, 5) In the first century, Christians learned that there was a famine in Judea and that the brothers needed help. So each Christian decided what he could afford to send to the brothers there.—Acts 11:27-30.
8 Jehovah’s people also gave financial support to those who took the lead in his work. For example, under the Law of Moses, the Levites did not have an inheritance as the other tribes did. So the rest of the Israelites gave a tenth of what they had to the Levites. This allowed the Levites to focus on their work at the tabernacle. (Numbers 18:21) In a similar way, generous women used what they had to support Jesus and his apostles.—Luke 8:1-3.
From the very rich to the very poor, everyone could give something
9. Where did contributions come from in the past?
9 Those contributions came from different sources. The Israelites who contributed for the building of the tabernacle may have given valuable things they had brought from Egypt. (Exodus 3:21, 22; 35:22-24) In the first century, some Christians sold things they owned, such as fields or houses, and brought the money to the apostles. The apostles then used that money for brothers and sisters who needed help. (Acts 4:34, 35) Other Christians regularly put money aside so that they could give it to support the work. (1 Corinthians 16:2) So from the very rich to the very poor, everyone could give something.—Luke 21:1-4.
HOW WE GIVE TODAY
10, 11. (a) How can we imitate generous servants of Jehovah who lived in Bible times? (b) How do you feel about supporting the Kingdom work?
10 Today, we too may be asked to contribute for a specific purpose. Perhaps your congregation is planning to renovate your Kingdom Hall or build a new one. Or maybe your local branch office needs to be renovated. We may also be able to help with the expenses of our convention. Or perhaps our brothers in another place have suffered a natural disaster and need our help. Our contributions also support missionaries, special pioneers, circuit overseers, and those who work at world headquarters and at branch offices around the world. Your congregation may also be sending regular contributions to help build Assembly Halls and Kingdom Halls for our brothers in other parts of the world.
11 All of us can give something to support the work that Jehovah’s organization is doing during these last days. Most donations are anonymous. When we put money in the contribution boxes at the Kingdom Hall or make donations online through jw.org, we do not let others know how much we gave. But what if you feel that your contributions are too small to matter? The truth is that most of the donations the organization receives come from many small gifts rather than a few large ones. Even our brothers who have very little money imitate the early Christians in Macedonia. They were in “deep poverty,” but they begged to be allowed to give and then gave generously.—2 Corinthians 8:1-4.
12. How does the organization try to use donations in the best way possible?
12 The Governing Body is faithful and discreet in the way the contributions are used. (Matthew 24:45) Its members pray to make good decisions, and they carefully plan how to use the money. (Luke 14:28) In Bible times, faithful men who looked after contributions made sure that they were used only for Jehovah’s worship. For example, Ezra returned to Jerusalem with valuable donations from the king of Persia, including gold, silver, and other treasures that would be worth more than $100 million (U.S.) today. Ezra viewed these contributions as gifts to Jehovah. So he gave specific instructions to protect them as they were carried through dangerous lands. (Ezra 8:24-34) Many years later, the apostle Paul collected money to help needy brothers in Judea. He made sure that those who delivered the money cared for “everything honestly, not only in the sight of Jehovah but also in the sight of men.” (Read 2 Corinthians 8:18-21.) Today, our organization imitates Ezra and Paul and uses contributions very carefully.
13. Why has the organization recently made certain changes?
13 A family may make changes in the way they handle their money so that they do not spend more than they earn. Or they may look for ways to make their life simpler so that they can do more for Jehovah. The same is true of Jehovah’s organization. Recently, there have been many exciting new projects, and at times, more money was spent than was received. So the organization, like a family, looks for ways to save money and make the work simpler, so that it can do as much good as possible with your generous contributions.
BENEFITS FROM YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS
14-16. (a) What are your contributions being used for? (b) How have these projects helped you personally?
14 Many who have been in the truth for years say that we are now receiving more gifts from the organization than ever before. We now have jw.org and JW Broadcasting. We have the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in many more languages. In 2014/2015, the three-day “Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom!” International Conventions were held in some of the largest stadiums in 14 cities around the world. Everyone who attended was happy to be there!
15 Many have expressed how grateful they are for these gifts from Jehovah’s organization. For example, a couple who serve in Asia wrote: “Our assignment is in a small city. As a result, we sometimes feel isolated, and we easily forget the scope of Jehovah’s work. But as soon as we watch the various programs on JW Broadcasting, we remember that we are part of an international brotherhood. Our dear local brothers and sisters are very excited about JW Broadcasting. We often hear them say that after watching the monthly programs, they feel close to the members of the Governing Body. Now they are prouder than ever to be part of God’s organization.”
16 Around the world, almost 2,500 Kingdom Halls are currently being built or renovated. Members of one congregation in Honduras said that they used to dream of having their own Kingdom Hall, but now that dream is a reality. They wrote: “We feel truly happy to be part of Jehovah’s universal family and to enjoy our wonderful worldwide brotherhood.” Many express similar feelings when they receive the Bible and other publications in their own language, when brothers and sisters help them after a natural disaster, or when they see the good results of metropolitan and public witnessing in their territory.
17. How do we know that Jehovah is supporting his organization today?
17 Many who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot understand how we do all these things using only voluntary contributions. An executive from a large company toured one of our printeries. He was amazed that all the work was done by volunteers, with voluntary donations, and without ever organizing events to raise money. He said that what we do should not be possible. We agree! We know that it is possible only because Jehovah is supporting the work.—Job 42:2.
BLESSINGS WHEN WE GIVE BACK TO JEHOVAH
18. (a) What blessings do we receive when we give to support the Kingdom? (b) How can we teach our children and new ones to do the same?
18 Jehovah gives us the honor and the opportunity to support the grand Kingdom work. He guarantees that when we do so, he will bless us. (Malachi 3:10) Jehovah promises that if we give generously, things will go well for us. (Read Proverbs 11:24, 25.) He also tells us that we will be happy when we give, for “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) By what we say and do, we can teach our children and new ones how they too can contribute to this work and enjoy many blessings.
19. How has this article encouraged you?
19 Everything we have comes from Jehovah. When we give back to him, we show that we love him and value all he has done for us. (1 Chronicles 29:17) When the Israelites contributed for the building of the temple, they “rejoiced over making these voluntary offerings, for they made the voluntary offerings to Jehovah with a complete heart.” (1 Chronicles 29:9) Let us too continue to find joy and satisfaction as we give back to Jehovah from what he has already given to us.