“O our God, we thank you and praise your beautiful name.”—1 CHRON. 29:13.
SONGS: 95, 48
1, 2. How does Jehovah generously use his material resources?
JEHOVAH is a generous God. Everything we have is from him. Jehovah owns all the gold and silver along with all other natural resources of the earth, and he uses them to provide what is needed to sustain life. (Ps. 104:13-15; Hag. 2:8) The Bible contains numerous accounts of how Jehovah used his resources miraculously to provide for his people.
2 For 40 years, Jehovah supplied manna and water for the nation of Israel while they were in the wilderness. (Ex. 16:35) As a result, “they lacked nothing.” (Neh. 9:20, 21) Through the prophet Elisha, Jehovah performed the miracle of multiplying the small quantity of oil for a faithful widow. God’s gift enabled her to pay off her debts and after that to have enough money for her and her sons to live on. (2 Ki. 4:1-7) With Jehovah’s support, Jesus miraculously provided food and even money when needed.—Matt. 15:35-38; 17:27.
3. What will we consider in this article?
3 Jehovah has access to unlimited resources that can sustain his earthly creation. However, he still invites his servants to use their material things to support the work of his organization. (Ex. 36:3-7; read Proverbs 3:9.) Why does Jehovah expect us to use our valuable things to give back to him? How did faithful ones in the past support the activities of Jehovah’s representatives financially? How does the organization use the money that is donated today? The answers to these questions will be discussed in this article.
WHY DO WE GIVE TO JEHOVAH?
4. What do we show Jehovah when we support his work?
4 We give to Jehovah because of our love and appreciation for him. We are overwhelmed when we consider all that Jehovah has done in our behalf. When explaining the needs of the upcoming project to build the temple, King David acknowledged that everything we receive comes from Jehovah and that whatever we give to Jehovah is from what he has already given us.—Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-14.
5. How do the Scriptures show that unselfish giving is a fundamental aspect of true worship?
5 Giving is also an expression of our worship of Jehovah. In 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.” (Rev. 4:11) Would you not agree that Jehovah is worthy of all the glory and honor that we can give him by offering the best that we have? Through Moses, Jehovah commanded the nation of Israel to appear before Jehovah at three annual festivals. As part of their worship at those festivals, the Israelites were not to “appear before Jehovah empty-handed.” (Deut. 16:16) Likewise today, unselfish giving in appreciation for and in support of the work of the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization is a fundamental aspect of worship.
6. Why is giving good for us? (See opening picture.)
6 Giving is good for us. It is healthy for us to be generous givers and not just receivers. (Read Proverbs 29:21.) We may think of a child who gives a gift to his parents from the small allowance they have given him. How the parents appreciate this gift! A son or a daughter who may be pioneering and living at home may rightly give the parents some funds to assist with household expenses. Though the parents may not expect this, they may accept these gifts because it is a way for the child to show appreciation for all that they do for him. Likewise, Jehovah realizes that giving from our valuable things is good for us.
GIVING IN BIBLE TIMES
7, 8. How did Jehovah’s people in Bible times set an example in contributing (a) for specific projects? (b) for the general support of the work?
7 The aspect of giving from personal resources is well-established in the Scriptures. In some cases, Jehovah’s people contributed for specific projects. For example, Moses called for donations for the construction of the tabernacle, as did King David for the building of the temple. (Ex. 35:5; 1 Chron. 29:5-9) During the time of King Jehoash, the priests used money that was collected to repair the house of Jehovah. (2 Ki. 12:4, 5) When the brothers in the early Christian congregation were made aware of the need that arose because of a famine, they “determined, each according to what he could afford, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea.”—Acts 11:27-30.
8 In other cases, Jehovah’s people gave financial support to those taking the lead in the work. Under the Mosaic Law, the Levites did not receive an inheritance as the other tribes did. Rather, the Israelites gave them a tithe, or a tenth part, that allowed the Levites to focus on their work at the tabernacle. (Num. 18:21) Similarly, Jesus and his apostles later benefited from the generosity of the women “who were ministering to them from their belongings.”—Luke 8:1-3.
9. What were some sources of contributions in times past?
9 Of course, the sources of such donations varied. When contributing for the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, what the Israelites gave likely included what they had brought with them from Egypt. (Ex. 3:21, 22; 35:22-24) In the first century, some Christians sold items that they owned, such as fields or houses, and brought the money to the apostles. The apostles distributed these funds to those in need. (Acts 4:34, 35) Others set aside money and gave regular donations to support the work. (1 Cor. 16:2) Thus, people of all walks of life—from the very wealthy to the very poor—had a share.—Luke 21:1-4.
10, 11. (a) How can we imitate the generous servants of Jehovah in Bible times? (b) How do you feel about the privilege you have to support the Kingdom work?
10 Today, we too may be asked to make donations for a specific purpose. For example, are there plans to build a new Kingdom Hall that your congregation will use? Or is your current Kingdom Hall being renovated? We may be made aware of financial needs with regard to renovations to our local branch office, a convention we are attending, or assistance to our brothers after a natural disaster. We also donate to support those caring for the work at world headquarters and at branch offices around the earth. Our donations support missionaries, special pioneers, and those in the circuit work. Your congregation also no doubt has a standing resolution to assist financially with the worldwide program of building Assembly Halls and Kingdom Halls, which benefits our brothers throughout the earth.
11 All of us can have a share in supporting the work that Jehovah is accomplishing in these last days. Most donations are anonymous. We discreetly place funds in the contribution boxes at the Kingdom Hall, or we may make donations online through jw.org. We may feel that our small donations do not mean much. Yet, the majority of donated funds today come from many small gifts rather than from a few large ones. Our brothers, even those who are in poor economic situations, are like the Macedonians who were in “deep poverty” and yet begged for the privilege to give and did so generously.—2 Cor. 8:1-4.
12. How does the organization strive to make the best use of donated funds?
12 With prayerful consideration, the Governing Body strives to be faithful and discreet with regard to how the organization’s funds are used. (Matt. 24:45) The funds that are received are budgeted and spent accordingly. (Luke 14:28) In Bible times, stewards of dedicated funds followed procedures to make sure that donations were used only for their intended purposes. For example, Ezra traveled back to Jerusalem with donated items from the Persian king—gold, silver, and other materials worth well over $100 million (U.S.) in today’s values. Ezra considered these funds to be voluntary offerings to Jehovah and put detailed procedures in place to protect these treasures on the perilous journey through hostile territory. (Ezra 8:24-34) The apostle Paul collected funds as a relief ministration for the brothers in Judea. He took steps to ensure that those delivering the funds cared for “everything honestly, not only in the sight of Jehovah but also in the sight of men.” (Read 2 Corinthians 8:21.) Imitating the examples of Ezra and Paul, our organization today follows strict procedures when it comes to handling and spending donated funds.
13. How should we view recent simplifications in the organization?
13 A family may make adjustments as they seek to balance income with expenses or as they consider how to simplify their life and reduce expenses in order to do more for Jehovah. The same is true of Jehovah’s organization. In recent years, there have been many exciting new initiatives. At times, this resulted in more money going out than coming in for a period of time. Thus, the organization looks for ways to reduce expenses and simplify the work so as to be able to accomplish the most that it can with your generous donations.
BENEFITS FROM YOUR DONATIONS
14-16. (a) What are some of the things being accomplished with your donations? (b) In what ways have you benefited from these provisions?
14 Many longtime servants of Jehovah have been heard to say that they have never seen a time like this with so many spiritual provisions. Just think! In recent years, we have seen the start of jw.org and JW Broadcasting. The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is published in many more languages. In 2014/2015, some of the largest stadiums in 14 cities around the world became home for the three-day “Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom!” International Conventions. Those who attended were thrilled to be present.
15 Many have expressed appreciation for the outstanding benefits they are receiving from Jehovah’s organization. For example, regarding the provision of JW Broadcasting, one couple serving in a country 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 Worldwide, nearly 2,500 Kingdom Halls are currently in the process of being built or extensively renovated. After beginning to use their new Kingdom Hall, the members of one congregation in Honduras wrote: “We feel truly happy to be part of Jehovah’s universal family and to enjoy our wonderful worldwide brotherhood, both of which helped to make our dream of having a Kingdom Hall in our community a reality.” Many express similar appreciation after receiving the Bible and other publications translated into their own language, after benefiting from relief work, or after seeing the results of metropolitan and public witnessing in their communities.
17. How does the way the organization operates today give evidence of Jehovah’s backing?
17 Onlookers cannot understand how it is possible for us to do all this work using only voluntary donations. After touring one of our printing facilities, an executive from a large company was amazed that all the work was accomplished by volunteers, with voluntary donations, and without any sales or fund drives. He said that it should not be possible to do what we do. We agree! We know that it is possible only because Jehovah is backing the work.—Job 42:2.
BLESSINGS FOR GIVING BACK TO JEHOVAH
18. (a) What blessings do we receive when we give in support of the Kingdom? (b) How can we train our children and new ones to have a share?
18 Jehovah dignifies us with the opportunity to support the grand work taking place today. He guarantees that we will receive blessings when we give in support of the Kingdom. (Mal. 3:10) Jehovah promises that the one who gives generously will prosper. (Read Proverbs 11:24, 25.) Giving also makes us happy, for “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) By word and example, we have the privilege of training our children and new ones to appreciate how they can have a share and how they, as a result, can enjoy many blessings.
19. How has this article encouraged you?
19 Everything we have is from Jehovah. Giving back to him shows that we love him and appreciate all that he has done in our behalf. (1 Chron. 29:17) When donating for the construction of the temple, “the people rejoiced over making these voluntary offerings, for they made the voluntary offerings to Jehovah with a complete heart.” (1 Chron. 29:9) May we likewise continue to find joy and satisfaction in giving back to Jehovah what has come to us from his own hand.