“The zeal for your house will consume me.”
1, 2. (a) In the past, where did Jehovah’s servants worship him? (b) How did Jesus feel about Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem? (c) What will we discuss in this article?
GOD’S servants, in the past and today, have had places where they worship God. For example, when Abel offered sacrifices to Jehovah, he may have built an altar. (Genesis 4:3, 4) Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses all made altars. (Genesis 8:20; 12:7; 26:25; 35:1; Exodus 17:15) Jehovah told the Israelites to build a tabernacle. (Exodus 25:8) Later, he instructed them to build a temple. (1 Kings 8:27, 29) After God’s people returned from exile in Babylon, they regularly met in synagogues. (Mark 6:2; John 18:20; Acts 15:21) And the first Christians met in homes. (Acts 12:12; 1 Corinthians 16:19) Today, Jehovah’s people all around the world meet in tens of thousands of Kingdom Halls, where they learn about Jehovah and worship him.
2 Jesus had deep respect for Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. Jesus’ love for the temple reminded his disciples of the words of the psalmist: “Zeal for your house has consumed me.” (Psalm 69:9; John 2:17) A Kingdom Hall is not “the house of Jehovah” in the same way the temple in Jerusalem was. (2 Chronicles 5:13; 33:4) But we should have deep respect for our places of worship. In this article, we will discuss Bible principles that teach us how we should behave when we are at our Kingdom Halls, how we should take care of them, and how we can help pay for them. *
WE SHOW RESPECT FOR OUR MEETINGS
3-5. What is a Kingdom Hall, and how should we feel about our meetings?
3 A Kingdom Hall is the main place where people can meet to worship Jehovah. Meetings are a gift from God, and they help us to strengthen our relationship with him. At our meetings, his organization gives us the encouragement and direction that we need. It is an honor to be invited by Jehovah and his Son to eat at “the table of Jehovah” every week. (1 Corinthians 10:21) We must never forget how special this invitation is.
4 Jehovah clearly tells us that he wants us to be at the meetings to worship him and to encourage one another. (Read Hebrews 10:24, 25.) Because we respect Jehovah, we will not miss meetings unless it is truly necessary. We show that we are grateful for our meetings when we prepare for them and look forward to participating in them.
5 How we behave at the meetings and how we care for our Kingdom Halls show how much we respect Jehovah. We want our conduct to bring praise to Jehovah’s name, which usually appears on the Kingdom Hall sign.
6. What have people said about our Kingdom Halls and those who are at the meetings? (See opening picture.)
6 When we show respect for our Kingdom Halls, other people notice this. For example, a man in Turkey said: “The cleanliness and orderliness that I observed at the Kingdom Hall impressed me. The people there were well-dressed, had smiles on their faces, and greeted me warmly. This impressed me greatly.” The man started coming to all the meetings and soon got baptized. In one city in Indonesia, the brothers invited their neighbors, the mayor, and other officials to see their new Kingdom Hall. The mayor was impressed with the good quality of the building, its design, and its beautiful garden. He said: “The cleanliness of this hall reflects your true faith.”
7, 8. How do we show that we respect Jehovah when we are at the Kingdom Hall?
7 Jehovah is the one inviting us to the meetings, and he cares about the way we look and behave there. So we avoid extremes. On the one hand, we are not too strict and formal, and on the other hand, we are not too relaxed and casual. It is true that Jehovah wants us and the people we invite to the Kingdom Hall to feel comfortable there. But we do not want to show disrespect for the meetings in any way. That is why we do not wear clothes that are untidy or too casual, and we are careful not to text, talk, or eat and drink during the meetings. And parents should teach their children not to run or play in the Kingdom Hall.
8 When Jesus saw people selling things in God’s temple, he got angry and threw them out. (John 2:13-17) In our Kingdom Halls, we worship Jehovah and learn about him. So it would not be right to take care of business activities while we are there.
WE HELP TO BUILD KINGDOM HALLS
9, 10. (a) How do Jehovah’s people build Kingdom Halls, and what have been the results? (b) How does Jehovah’s organization help congregations that cannot afford to build their own Kingdom Hall?
9 Jehovah’s people around the world work hard to build Kingdom Halls. Unpaid volunteers design, build, and renovate them. As a result, during the last 15 years, we have built more than 28,000 beautiful Kingdom Halls worldwide, or about 5 Kingdom Halls every day.
10 Jehovah’s organization assigns volunteers and uses contributions to help build Kingdom Halls wherever there is a need. We follow the Bible principle that those who have more can help those who do not have enough. (Read 2 Corinthians 8:13-15.) What have been the results? Many Kingdom Halls have been built for congregations that could not afford to pay for them.
11. What do some brothers say about their new Kingdom Hall, and how does this make you feel?
11 Brothers from one congregation in Costa Rica wrote: “When we stand in front of the Kingdom Hall, we feel that we must be dreaming! We cannot believe it. Our beautiful hall was finished down to the last detail in only eight days! It was made possible by Jehovah’s blessing, the arrangements made by his organization, and the support of our dear brothers. This place of worship is indeed a precious gift, a gem that Jehovah has given us. We feel extremely joyful about it.” It truly makes us happy to hear our brothers and sisters thank Jehovah for what he has done for them. And we are delighted that brothers all over the world can have their own Kingdom Hall. It is clear that Jehovah is blessing the work of building Kingdom Halls, because as soon as they are built, many more people start attending meetings to learn about Jehovah.
12. How can you help build Kingdom Halls?
12 How can you help build Kingdom Halls? Perhaps you can volunteer to help in that work. And all of us can contribute money to pay for building Kingdom Halls. When we do all we can to support this work, we feel the joy of giving and, more important, we praise Jehovah. We follow the example of God’s people in Bible times who were eager to contribute to the building of their places of worship.
WE KEEP OUR KINGDOM HALL CLEAN
13, 14. What do we learn in the Bible that shows we must keep our Kingdom Hall clean and tidy?
13 Jehovah is a clean and holy God. He is a God of order. That is why we must keep our Kingdom Hall clean and tidy. (Read 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40.) And to be clean and holy like Jehovah, we not only keep our worship, our thinking, and our actions clean, but we also keep our bodies clean.
14 When we keep our Kingdom Hall clean and tidy, we are proud to invite people to our meetings. And people will see that we truly put into practice what we preach about a clean new world. They will see that we worship a holy and clean God who will make this earth into a beautiful paradise.
15, 16. (a) Why is it not always easy to keep the Kingdom Hall clean? Why must we keep it clean? (b) How is the cleaning of your Kingdom Hall organized, and what honor does each of us have?
15 People have different opinions about cleaning. Why? It could be because of the way they have been brought up. Also, some live in a dusty place or in a place where the roads are dirty and muddy. Others do not have enough water or cleaning products. But wherever we live and no matter how people in our area feel about cleaning, we should keep our Kingdom Hall clean and tidy. It is the place where we worship Jehovah.
16 If we want our Kingdom Hall to be as clean as possible, we need to be organized. The elders make a schedule for the congregation and make sure that there are always enough cleaning products and equipment available. The elders also organize the work so that it gets done. Some things need to be cleaned after every meeting, but others not as often. All of us have the honor of sharing in the cleaning of our Kingdom Hall.
WE TAKE CARE OF OUR KINGDOM HALL
17, 18. (a) What can we learn from the way Jehovah’s people in the past cared for the temple? (b) Why must we take care of our Kingdom Hall?
17 We also keep our Kingdom Hall in good condition by doing any necessary repairs. Jehovah’s servants in the past did the same. For example, during the reign of King Jehoash of Judah, people contributed money to the temple. The king commanded the priests to use this money to repair the temple wherever any damage was found. (2 Kings 12:4, 5) Over 200 years later, King Josiah also used temple contributions to pay for repairs.
18 Some Branch Committees have noticed that people in their countries are not used to keeping buildings or equipment in good condition. It may be that few people in these countries know how to do the work. Or they may not have enough money to pay for repairs. But if we do not repair our Kingdom Hall when necessary, it will begin to look untidy and people will notice this. It would not give them a good witness. Instead, when we all do what we can to take care of our Kingdom Hall, we praise Jehovah and we do not waste the money that our brothers have contributed.
19. What will you do to show your respect for the place where you worship Jehovah?
19 A Kingdom Hall is a building dedicated to Jehovah. It does not belong to any person or congregation. As we discussed in this article, Bible principles will help us to have the right attitude toward the place where we worship God. Because we respect Jehovah, we show respect for our meetings as well as for the Kingdom Hall. We are happy to contribute money to the building of Kingdom Halls, and we work hard to take care of them and keep them clean. Like Jesus, we show our zeal and respect for the place where we worship Jehovah.
^ par. 2 This article refers to Kingdom Halls. But what we will discuss also applies to Assembly Halls and other places that are used for worshipping Jehovah.