August 1879 in the second issue of The Watchtower (then called Zion's Watch Tower), it said:
"'Zion's Watch Tower' has, we believe, JEHOVAH for its backer, and while this is the case it will never beg nor petition men for support. When He who says: 'All the gold and silver of the mountains are mine,' fails to provide necessary funds, we will understand it to be time to suspend the publication.
Last night one of the elders had a part in the Service Meeting where he informed the congregation that we are not sending our fair share to the Watchtower. The congregation seems to be doing okay when it comes to contributing to the local congregation so that electric bills can be paid and so forth. But when it comes to literature (The Worldwide Work), the congregation is woefully negligent.
According to this brother, a circuit overseer has recently stated that if Witnesses still had to pay for their literature as they used to, individual Watchtower and Awake! magazines would now cost about $1 with inflation, as opposed to the $.25 they cost before the Society went to voluntary donations.
Based on that math, our congregation should be sending close to $1500 per month for the Worldwide Work. The congregation averages $600 per month. The elder speaking says that this is pitiful for two reasons.
First, the congregation isn't even covering for the literature that it is receiving every month, based upon that one Circuit Overseer's estimations. Secondly, as a congregation in a first world country (running water, internet, SUVs, etc.) congregations should also be covering for those Witnesses in places where they simply do not have the money to contribue for literature, and yet they do receive it. (Why doesn't the Watchtower just wait on Jehovah to provide?)