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M. Stephen Lett: Beware of the Power of Materialism (Matt. 6:11)


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It can be very discouraging if we have the desire to pioneer or do more for Jehovah and truly can’t because of family responsibilities, health issues or economic conditions. In a more rural part of the US the cost of living can be much lower and everyday life may be a bit simpler, so there can be practical reasons for why a lot more people are able to pioneer.
 

Family support is another factor. Before I was born my parents were able to serve where the need was great in Spain for two years because my mom’s parents helped them financially to do so and they lived very simply. Living with family hasn’t been an option for me since I was 17. I would love

to serve where the need is great in another country, but I don’t personally have the circumstances to do it. But maybe when my daughter is older we can serve in a local language territory where there is need.
 

For those of us who live in cities or countries where the cost of living is much higher and everyday life is more stressful and complicated, or have to work full-time to be able to afford treatment for serious health conditions, people in these places need to know about the Kingdom too! Even if we can “only” be publishers, we still have a huge privilege of supporting the preaching work and our congregations with our own unique qualities and gifts. Children are a gift from Jehovah and raising them to love and serve him is a huge privilege and responsibility. I’ve always found it encouraging to be told that I have pioneer spirit—we can all have this regardless of our personal circumstances. Jehovah sees hearts and all he expects of us is our best. Remember the widow with the two coins — everyone’s best is going to look a little different. 

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21 hours ago, Woanders said:

There are homeless highly educated peoples on the streets of the US ( and also here in Germany) living in their vehicles even, or in homes so you cannot say they haven’t tried. Thankfully you haven’t seen Jehovah’s people left to living on the street.

Hello, I noticed your post mentioning that Jehovah's people aren't left to living on the streets & I need to let the Family know that there Is indeed, a Very dear, Very spiritual sister who has been living (not comfortably) in her car for more than a year!!   She has Multiple Chemical Sensitivities as well as PTSD from growing up & living quite abused.   She is presently in Denver, CO - struggling with trying to locate living arrangements that would accommodate her disabilities & coming up empty-handed everywhere she turns in this heartless system.   

Her situation breaks my heart on a regular basis & although she has close friends in multiple congregations, sometimes it seems that Satan has her in his sights to unleash his best misery on her!!  With all that, it's apparent that Jehovah is using her as His Witness to the homeless, hopeless ones of the world as well as the ppl who are employed to  "help" them!   Her faith & courage put me to shame.

...Just wanted to give you all a heads up!  🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

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1 hour ago, Roxessence said:

With all that, it's apparent that Jehovah is using her as His Witness to the homeless, hopeless ones of the world as well as the ppl who are employed to  "help" them!   Her faith & courage put me to shame.

...Just wanted to give you all a heads up!  🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

 

Thank you for sharing. I don’t live in the US so of course don’t know of such local situations, but have seen news documentaries about the homeless in the US living in their cars. It showed that people came from various backgrounds and were not just the old, but young, and also some who had previously high paying jobs and were educated. That is just sad. Yes no one is spared from this system from going hungry, or living on the streets. I am sure the elders are aware of her situation?

- Read the Bible daily 

The chariot is moving ❤️‍🔥

Ps.86:11

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9 hours ago, Woanders said:

That is just sad. Yes no one is spared from this system from going hungry, or living on the streets. I am sure the elders are aware of her situation?

Yes, elders from several congregations are cognizant of her situation - hasn't changed or helped enough to remedy it.   Many times, their hands are tied because of lack of availability or the sheer cost of special housing...of course, the exhausting need for direction in the congregations means that brothers are spread So thin already!  

Currently, friends are attempting to build a fund to help purchase a mini-van or shuttle bus for her that can be converted to mobile living space.   We're all depending on Jehovah's loving spirit for guidance & have no doubt that, in the end, He knows exactly what's required & when the timing is perfect for her.

In the meantime, she has sufficient provisions (although barely sometimes!) to get thru each day & angelic guidance leads her to the broken-hearted & she pours out buckets of Hope & Truth - seasons of Refreshment for lost souls.

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12 hours ago, Roxessence said:

Hello, I noticed your post mentioning that Jehovah's people aren't left to living on the streets & I need to let the Family know that there Is indeed, a Very dear, Very spiritual sister who has been living (not comfortably) in her car for more than a year!!   She has Multiple Chemical Sensitivities as well as PTSD from growing up & living quite abused.   She is presently in Denver, CO - struggling with trying to locate living arrangements that would accommodate her disabilities & coming up empty-handed everywhere she turns in this heartless system.   

Her situation breaks my heart on a regular basis & although she has close friends in multiple congregations, sometimes it seems that Satan has her in his sights to unleash his best misery on her!!  With all that, it's apparent that Jehovah is using her as His Witness to the homeless, hopeless ones of the world as well as the ppl who are employed to  "help" them!   Her faith & courage put me to shame.

...Just wanted to give you all a heads up!  🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

 

I also have a similar experience,a very sad one;

 

In the other congregation in our KH,there used to be a sister who had mental illness and had to roam about and live on the streets for several years but just last year she was abducted and killed by ritualists and her body was dismembered  for rituals.


The sister's family are poor,they could not afford to take the sister to a psychiatric hospital for proper treatment so sometimes they  lock her in a cage but it was looking inhumane to do that.

The sister's daughter is in my congregation, she has once gone to meet her mother where she used to stay on the street and she wept profusely in the public for her mom,crowds gathered and tried to console her.

 

As Jehovah's people we suffer everything just like others but Jehovah has given us hope of living in paradise,which is what the non-witnesses are lacking.

 

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On 3/1/2023 at 4:41 PM, Esined said:

It can be very discouraging if we have the desire to pioneer or do more for Jehovah and truly can’t because of family responsibilities, health issues or economic conditions. In a more rural part of the US the cost of living can be much lower and everyday life may be a bit simpler, so there can be practical reasons for why a lot more people are able to pioneer.
 

Family support is another factor. Before I was born my parents were able to serve where the need was great in Spain for two years because my mom’s parents helped them financially to do so and they lived very simply. Living with family hasn’t been an option for me since I was 17. I would love

to serve where the need is great in another country, but I don’t personally have the circumstances to do it. But maybe when my daughter is older we can serve in a local language territory where there is need.
 

For those of us who live in cities or countries where the cost of living is much higher and everyday life is more stressful and complicated, or have to work full-time to be able to afford treatment for serious health conditions, people in these places need to know about the Kingdom too! Even if we can “only” be publishers, we still have a huge privilege of supporting the preaching work and our congregations with our own unique qualities and gifts. Children are a gift from Jehovah and raising them to love and serve him is a huge privilege and responsibility. I’ve always found it encouraging to be told that I have pioneer spirit—we can all have this regardless of our personal circumstances. Jehovah sees hearts and all he expects of us is our best. Remember the widow with the two coins — everyone’s best is going to look a little different. 

 

You know when I was pioneering, at some point I thought about continuing indefinitely.but pioneering is good and enjoyable especially if you don't intend to be a family man and if you have someone to support you financially.

A lot of full time servants are supported by their families,the COBE in my congregation has been pioneering a long time because his wife who has a full time secular job has been supporting him.

I stopped pioneering because I wanted to serve Jehovah as a family man with my wife and children, I realised that my interest is not compartible with the goal of pioneering.

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6 hours ago, JennyM said:

"Store treasures in heaven than on earth"

 

If you ask me,I think you should not even store treasure on earth,Lols.

 

whatever we have on earth is just to help us in serving Jehovah well,if for any reason they are lost,we are still happy because they were never the main focus,our properties and wealth is only a means to an end.

I like the way Paul puts it in Philippians 4:12,13

 

"I know how to be low on provisions and how to have an abundance. In everything and in all circumstances I have learned the secret of both how to be full and how to hunger, both how to have an abundance and how to do without.  13 For all things I have the strength through the one who gives me power."

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Isreal was pursuing paneled housing while Jehovah's was in shambles.  They were called out on the carpet for it.

 

good example was David who amassed riches as being a leader but gave it all to Jehovah's temple.

 

Solomon had good and questionable examples.  he was very generous for sacrifices; then spent a lot of royal money for projects.

 

Jesus said the rich man had abundance then wanted to build bigger store houses; but wouldn't save him from the poeple who were starving and took everything and killed him.

 

especially don't want to be judgemental to poor people; or look down on; as if materials things is a indicator of someones worth.

 

does materialism mean you have to prove yourself poor to not be materialistic?   Or not have a good paying job?  cause i'd rather have a good job and not have to work 120 hours a week with dumb jobs that don't pay.

 

do we love money?

 

I've been yelled at by a brother about a small money issue that he forgot was paid;  and i mean very nasty revile yelled at.  He super apoligized but he lost his cool.  lol  if there was the right circumstances he would of lost privileges.

 

Jesus had very expensive clothing; most likely gifted. jesus had access to exremely expensive perfumes...  but didn't trip about it.

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If you only talk about your secular work with others,

or you only ask that young brother about his work and nothing about his spiritual goals or other aspects of his life, you might be materialistic. 😊 This video was gold, don't think anything more can be added to it in this discussion, every brother and sister needs to watch this faith strengthening counsel from the Faithful Slave. 😊

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/27/2023 at 8:59 PM, jwhess said:

We are blessed in our congregation here in Ohio.  We are a small group (but having recently increased to 97 publishers).  Our COBE is a remote Bethel worker (very remote 700 miles). His wife and son also Pioneer. Our Service Overseer also is a Pioneer and so is his wife.  Our Secretary is self-employed in his 40's and he is a reg Auxiliary Pioneer and his wife is a Regular Pioneer.  I am retired and a Regular Pioneer and my wife puts in reg Auxiliary hours but has uncertain health conditions.  One other elder and his wife used to Pioneer with us but bad financial problems caused him to return to full-time self-employment.  So about half of our elder body is in the Pioneer work and it is a blessing.  They all seem to focus on simplifying their lives.  I sold my small farm and moved to town.  I bought a smaller, damaged house in town and fixed it up.

 

I an earlier talk (last year, I think), Br. Lett mentioned that we had no need for new concrete driveways.  I felt bad because our town usually has "paved" driveways for each house.  Since I volunteered my house for the Field Service Group, I needed to be able to park my vehicles and the visiting 4-5 friends cars.  The puddled, muddy drive did not lend itself for that duty.  So during the Covid time last summer I paid to have the drive paved.  It seemed to be a necessary expense ($7000) that has served us well now that we are meeting here again in person.

 

Our congregation now has 24 Regular Pioneers and 2 Regular Auxiliary Pioneers.  In addition we have about 30 signed up for Aux Pioneering in March.  We are trying for 2/3 of the congregation.  Pray for us when you can.

7000 dollars??? That's a whole lot of money where I come from!

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On 3/2/2023 at 5:44 PM, Ishaya said:

 

I also have a similar experience,a very sad one;

 

In the other congregation in our KH,there used to be a sister who had mental illness and had to roam about and live on the streets for several years but just last year she was abducted and killed by ritualists and her body was dismembered  for rituals.


The sister's family are poor,they could not afford to take the sister to a psychiatric hospital for proper treatment so sometimes they  lock her in a cage but it was looking inhumane to do that.

The sister's daughter is in my congregation, she has once gone to meet her mother where she used to stay on the street and she wept profusely in the public for her mom,crowds gathered and tried to console her.

 

As Jehovah's people we suffer everything just like others but Jehovah has given us hope of living in paradise,which is what the non-witnesses are lacking.

 

It's a shame. Even if the family could not rally to her support for lack of finances, brothers and sisters from different congregations could not come together to also be of any financial assistance??? Love is practical! 

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@Hope Give us something from your own perspective. What is your take on this whole issue? I always love the way you express things from your own angle, including experiences personal or shared. I think this is a very fascinating thread and should receive more views and comments, more viewpoints, etc. Personally I think the way we view materialism can be relative depending on many factors. But in all I agree that greed and a lack of trust in Jehovah (for those who are his servants) are the root causes of materialism. 

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3 hours ago, truce said:

7000 dollars??? That's a whole lot of money where I come from!

The cost of living varies from place to place.  In the USA, the city of New York lists the poverty level of a husband and wife at more than $30,000 per year.  Here in Ohio we live on poverty at around $20,000 per year.  I am retired and my funds are slightly more than that.  And to decide to spend $7000 on a driveway was a major decision (a third of a year income).  But my brothers had to drive and park every week at my house as the FSG meets here.

 

When I moved to town, it was the one time that I would have the funds to do the work.  So we prayed and researched the costs and decided to do it.  Maybe if I had heard Br. Lett's comments before that, maybe I would have made another decision.  Most of the quotes for the work were over $10,000 (some were double what I paid).

 

So the cost was "a whole lot of money" for me as well.  At least it was done to make Jehovah's service easier for the brothers.  I didn't spend it on a swimming pool...🙂

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33 minutes ago, jwhess said:

The cost of living varies from place to place.  In the USA, the city of New York lists the poverty level of a husband and wife at more than $30,000 per year.  Here in Ohio we live on poverty at around $20,000 per year.  I am retired and my funds are slightly more than that.  And to decide to spend $7000 on a driveway was a major decision (a third of a year income).  But my brothers had to drive and park every week at my house as the FSG meets here.

 

When I moved to town, it was the one time that I would have the funds to do the work.  So we prayed and researched the costs and decided to do it.  Maybe if I had heard Br. Lett's comments before that, maybe I would have made another decision.  Most of the quotes for the work were over $10,000 (some were double what I paid).

 

So the cost was "a whole lot of money" for me as well.  At least it was done to make Jehovah's service easier for the brothers.  I didn't spend it on a swimming pool...🙂

I get you. You still could have spent it on a swimming pool and the brothers would have come around swimming every other weekend after a long hot day in service... 😀(JOKING )

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6 hours ago, truce said:

It's a shame. Even if the family could not rally to her support for lack of finances, brothers and sisters from different congregations could not come together to also be of any financial assistance??? Love is practical! 

Sometimes there's not a simple  solution, especially with mental health issues. We have a sister here with a paranoid mental health problem. She won't take any medication, she imagines all sorts of things, and she won't let the brothers near when she's in that state. She's a faithful sister, but she's mentally ill, so she won't accept help.

Sometimes it's not that the brotherhood doesn't care, it's that people have tried for years, watched the situation deteriorate, and are totally unable to do anything else without power of attorney, or the ability for example to commit that person, so they can get medical treatment or accept any other kind of assistance. And the person concerned certainly won't allow that! 


Edited by Ludwika
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1 hour ago, Ludwika said:

She won't take any medication, she imagines all sorts of things, and she won't let the brothers near when she's in that state. She's a faithful sister, but she's mentally ill, so she won't accept help.


Those are tough and heartbreaking situations for sure. In the US, different states have different laws and provisions in place if a person’s mental or brain-based illness makes them a danger to themselves or others. They can be involuntarily hospitalized in order to get them the treatment they need. But there is no easy solution, it’s awful. 

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On 2/25/2023 at 3:06 AM, Ishaya said:

Is it having material things or is it being overly worried about having material things, because those two are not the same.

We all like nice things. Not engaging in excesses is how I look at the counsel. So beyond decent quality (and quantity) of food, decent quality clothing, and decent quality shelter ... beyond those basics in this system especially, where there is imperfection that can produce envy and much inequality in society—we can cause others to be stirred up over our excesses even if they are justly obtained. So modesty in other words should be sought, not extravegance.

 

Also, contentment is the opposite of greed isn't it? Contentment and modesty—both are calming, anxiety-reducing words to me. Calming perhaps because I know they are qualities Jehovah approves of in our heart. 

 

It sometimes may be the case that only when one losses all their possessions that they come to appreciate the more important things in life. 

 

There's a saying:  "A content person is a rich person." I find that to be true. People matter, not things.

“He who knows patience knows peace.” — Chinese Proverb
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