Trust in Jehovah (Part 3)

   God Knows Our Needs



Jesus promised that if we would seek first the kingdom and God’s righteousness our heavenly father would take care of our necessities.

31 Don't worry and ask yourselves, "Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?"
32 Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these.
33 But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.
34 Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Matthew 6:31-34; Contemporary English Version (CEV).

I have always firmly believed in that promise. I think Jesus obligated Jehovah to take care of us with those words, especially when we were putting “God’s work first.” With that in mind my policy over the years has been that I would never mention to anyone if I was in need, not even my own parents, only Jehovah.


In 1972, acting on the encouragement of a letter from the Canadian Bethel, I was willing to leave my relatives and friends and move with my newly wed wife five hundred miles north (eight hundred kilometers) to a small congregation, with a territory stretching over two hundred miles from end to end. I loved God’s work of preaching and envied the angels who could care for their assignments fully, not having to spend much of their time providing for their necessities. I found work with a brother who had a gas station, pumping gas and changing oil, for one dollar an hour. It was just enough to get by on. Eventually I was able to arrange with him to let me work Mondays and Tuesdays 16 hours each, and then Wednesdays another 8 hours, which would give me 40 hours for the week. That freed me to spend the rest of the week pioneering, which required 100 hours per month at that time.


The other two elders in our little congregation objected to this. They claimed I did not have enough money to pioneer and thus would become a burden to the congregation as they would have to help us with our expenses. I assured them that I did not need anyones help, and should I be in need we had Jesus’ promise that Jehovah would provide for us. One of the two elders seemed to make it his quest to prevent me from carrying out my heart’s desire, even showing up at my job to discourage me, using scripture to show me how irresponsible I was being. It irritated them that I did not listen to them, and to make their point that I could not pioneer without their help, we were no longer invited by either one for a meal the way we used to. One of the elders even refused to work with us in the service after this.


And Jehovah allowed us to go hungry. (see Deuteronomy 8:2,3,16) We had lots of potatoes, which we bought from the farms. Also a bucket of butter was cheap. While out in the service we used to go fishing in the many streams and rivers that were in our territory, always thinking that Jehovah would bless us with a nice catch, but I could never get those little worms at the end of the hook to do their job. It is frustrating to watch the fish swim by and seemingly waive at you. One day I was determined to bring a nice fish home for supper, caught with the net I had brought along. That’s when I nearly got caught, by the fish and game warden. He had stopped by to ask if we had seen any fish, and I had just enough time to hide my net. I had been told it’s illegal to go fishing with a net, but I didn’t think Jehovah would have been upset. There was my answer. I never tried that again. What was that game warden doing there anyways? I had never met one before neither after this. He spoiled my supper. Thankfully, my wife was expert at making a nice meal out of very little, such as horta, the Greek word for grass or vegetable, such as dandelion.


The service was a real joy. There were many farms in our area and one particular one was a real challenge to call on. Happily his property was fenced in because whenever we would drive up to the gate his five dogs would come running, raising a loud ruckus and making great efforts to get at us. Then the owner would come with a rifle, point it at us and just say, “Git! Git outa here!” We would tell him that we were just saying hello to our neighbors and did not want to pass him by. Then we would promptly hop in the car and git outa there.


Our politeness must have worked, for this man had a change of heart because one day, instead of pointing his rifle at us and telling us to go away, he actually invited us in and listened. We became friends. On one such return visit I took the elder along who had been the most enthusiastic about trying to discourage us from pioneering. We had an interesting visit, with chickens running through the house and my briefcase, which I had put on the floor, picking up some evidence of their presence. When we were about to leave his wife asked me if I liked eggs. I answered that we all loved eggs. She further inquired if I wanted to take some home. She wanted to give us some as her chickens were laying much more than she could use and the eggs were piling up. I thankfully accepted the offer and was surprised when she showed up with twelve dozen cartons. Once outside I offered half of them to the elder with me. He just shook his head and said, “You know, my chickens are not laying now and I sure could use some eggs.” He only accepted two dozen. And then he laughed, “Today I learned a lesson. If we don’t help our brothers Jehovah can use even persecutors to do that.”


It had been a cold winter. Our fuel delivery man automatically came by every month to top up our heating fuel, whether we were at home or not. It was February now and he had filled up our tank again without us having paid for the previous delivery. Also this time of year most expenses came due, our health insurance, car insurance, etc. I needed $350 dollars before the end of the month, and I had no clue where I was going to get it from. My one-dollar-an-hour job was just getting us by. And true to my policy I would not mention to anyone our situation, not even my parents, not even if they asked how we were doing. If I would mention my predicament to anyone and they would help then I could not say that it was from Jehovah, but rather from them. But if I told only Jehovah and would get what I needed then I would know for sure that it was he who was providing for us, true to Jesus’ promise. So, the last Tuesday of the month, in desperation I gathered all my bills and spread them out on the coffee table, and asked Jehovah to have a look at them. I told him that they needed to be paid and I would do whatever it took to pay them, even quitting pioneering of that is what he wanted. But even then I still needed his assistance as with my low paying job I would never earn enough to pay the bills. I told him that his name was also involved. The home heating fuel man was the biggest gossiper in town and soon everyone would know that Jehovah’s witnesses don’t pay their bills. And what about the two elders who had tried to prevent me from pioneering? Would they now be vindicated?

On Thursday I received a letter from a brother in my home city who was a realtor. Almost two years earlier I had recommended him to a couple who wanted to sell their house. He had sold it for them and now remembered me and enclosed a $50 cheque (Canadian spelling). It seems the cheque was already in the mail when I had petitioned Jehovah two days earlier. On Sunday, after the meeting, we were invited by a brother in another town, fifty miles away, where we had formed a congregation, to visit and go in the service with him. While we were together he told me how Jehovah had blessed him. He had given up a good job and moved here with his wife and five sons, to help establish the congregation. The man from whom he was renting his cabin, where they were living, told him that this brother’s God must love him because he felt this God wanted him to help the brother. And so he had given him all the timber rights on his property where the cabin stood. He could log the trees and keep the money. The brother had a logging company come in and estimate the value of the timber and just now he had received an advance on that. Now he told me, “I am sure that Jehovah does not want me to keep all the money for myself, but just as he helped me he wants me to help you. You are pioneering and I know you have a lot of expenses, especially in February, when you have a lot of bills to pay. How much do you need?”


Boy, my heart leaped for joy. But I remembered my steadfast policy of not telling anyone when I was in need and so I answered, “Thank you for your kind offer brother so-and-so, (no relation to the other so-and-sos in my other experiences) but we are doing OK. Jehovah is taking care of all our needs.” Then in my heart I told Jehovah that if this offer was from him then he would know how much I needed, and I did not need to say anything. After service we were invited to stay for dinner at this brother’s home and really enjoyed the association. When we were about to leave for home, an hour’s drive, he handed me an envelope and told me it was from Jehovah, and not to say anything. I opened the envelope when we arrived home and can you guess what was inside? A cheque for $300. I wanted to throw my arms around Jehovah, had that been possible. But I sheepishly asked him, “Could you not have made it just a little larger, instead of right on?”


The next day I was able to pay all the bills without having had to stop pioneering.

I had a brother, an elder, once ask me, “If we pray for something and then get it, how can we know that it is from Jehovah and not just a coincidence?”  I answered with, “That is why it is good to be specific in what you are praying about. And when you receive what you had prayed for then it would be proper to thank Jehovah in appreciation, without doubting.” (James 1:6-8)



Make Sure of All Things