THE year was 49 C.E. Peter, James, and John—“who seemed to be pillars”—gave the apostle Paul and his fellow worker Barnabas a commission. They were to keep impoverished Christians in mind as they preached to the nations. (Gal. 2:9, 10) How was this responsibility fulfilled?
Paul’s letters reveal the attention that he gave to this matter. For example, to Christians in Corinth, he wrote: “Concerning the collection that is for the holy ones, just as I gave orders to the congregations of Galatia, do that way also yourselves. Every first day of the week let each of you at his own house set something aside in store as he may be prospering, so that when I arrive collections will not take place then. But when I get there, whatever men you approve of by letters, these I shall send to carry your kind gift to Jerusalem.”—1 Cor. 16:1-3.
In his second inspired letter to the Corinthians, Paul restated the objective of the collection. It was that “by means of an equalizing your surplus just now might offset their deficiency.”—2 Cor. 8:12-15.
When Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome about 56 C.E., the collection was almost complete. He said: “I am about to journey to Jerusalem to minister to the holy ones. For those in Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to share up their things by a contribution to the poor of the holy ones in Jerusalem.” (Rom. 15:25, 26) Paul fulfilled his commission shortly thereafter, for upon returning to Jerusalem and being arrested there, he told Roman Governor Felix: “I arrived to bring gifts of mercy to my nation, and offerings.”—Acts 24:17.
The spirit shown by first-century Christians is clear from what Paul said of the Macedonians. He stated that they “kept begging us with much entreaty for the privilege of kindly giving.” The apostle urged the Corinthians to follow that example. He said: “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” What moved the congregations to show such generosity? The desire behind it was not solely “to supply abundantly the wants of the holy ones but also to be rich with many expressions of thanks to God.” (2 Cor. 8:4; 9:7, 12) Our generosity may well have similar objectives. Jehovah God will surely bless such a fine and unselfish spirit—and his blessing indeed makes a person rich.—Prov. 10:22.
HOW SOME CHOOSE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE WORLDWIDE WORK
As in the apostle Paul’s day, many today “set something aside,” or budget, an amount of money and place it in the congregation contribution boxes labeled “Worldwide Work.” (1 Cor. 16:2) Each month, congregations forward these contributions to the office of Jehovah’s Witnesses that serves their country. It is also possible for you to send donations directly to a legal entity that is used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in your country. To learn the name of the primary legal entity used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in your country, please contact the branch office that serves the country. The address of the branch office can be found on www.jw.org. The types of donations that you can send directly are the following:
- Donations of cash, jewelry, or other valuable personal property.
- Include a letter indicating that the cash or the items are an outright donation.
CONDITIONAL DONATION ARRANGEMENT
- Donations of cash with the condition that it can be returned if needed by the donor.
- Include a letter stating that the donation is conditional.
In addition to gifts of money and valuable personal property, there are other methods of giving to benefit Kingdom service worldwide. These are listed below. Regardless of the method or methods you would like to use, please first contact the branch office that serves your country to see which methods are available in the country. Since legal requirements and tax laws vary, it is important to consult qualified tax and legal advisers before choosing the best way to donate.
Insurance: A donation made by specifying an entity used by Jehovah’s Witnesses as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or a retirement/pension plan.
Bank Accounts: Bank accounts, certificates of deposit, or individual retirement accounts set up as a trust or made payable on death to an entity used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in accord with local bank requirements.
Stocks and Bonds: Stocks and bonds donated to an entity used by Jehovah’s Witnesses as an outright gift or by means of a Transfer on Death agreement.
Real Estate: Salable real estate donated to an entity used by Jehovah’s Witnesses, either by making an outright gift or, in the case of residential property, by reserving a life estate to the donor, who can continue to live in the residence during his or her lifetime.
Gift Annuity: Money or securities donated to an entity used by Jehovah’s Witnesses under an arrangement where the donor, or someone designated by the donor, receives a specified annuity payment every year for life. The donor receives an income-tax deduction for the year in which the gift annuity is established.
Wills and Trusts: Property or money may be bequeathed to an entity used by Jehovah’s Witnesses by means of a legally executed will or by specifying the entity as the beneficiary of a trust agreement. This arrangement may provide certain tax advantages.
As the term “charitable planning” implies, these types of donations typically require some planning on the part of the donor. To assist individuals desiring to benefit the worldwide work of Jehovah’s Witnesses through some form of charitable giving, a brochure entitled Charitable Planning to Benefit Kingdom Service Worldwide has been prepared in English and Spanish. The brochure was written to provide information on a variety of ways that gifts may be made now or later, as through a bequest at death. The information covered in this brochure may not apply fully to your situation because of tax or other laws in your country. Hence, after reading the brochure, you should confer with your own legal or tax advisers. By using such methods of charitable giving, many have been able to help support our religious and humanitarian activities worldwide and maximize their tax benefits. If available in your country, the brochure may be obtained by requesting a copy from the secretary of the local congregation.
For more information, you may contact the Charitable Planning Office, either in writing or by telephone, at the address listed below, or you may contact the branch office that serves your country.