KEYWORDS: people, canning, lord, money, maria, witness

Can the Canning

David Berg

DO 2627 5/90

1.(Maria: The Charlotte Observer newspaper in the U.S. that led the fight against Jimmy Bakker is now after some of the Family who were witnessing in the area. I understand that they've been canning, & that's what the paper's upset about.) What's canning? (Maria: Distributing lit at street lights & receiving contributions in a little can or box.) Like begging.

2. The Lord will reward the Family according to their works. If their incentive is money, He won't bless it. But if their genuine heartfelt incentive is to witness & win souls, they won't have to worry about money; the Lord will take care of it. But the Lord will not bless them just going out to get money.

3. How often have you ever known me to work for the Lord or preach or do anything just for money? My God, I would have been long gone long ago! But because I just insisted on obeying the Lord, doing His Work & His Will & getting out the Message‚ the Gospel, & trying to help people & win souls, the Lord's taken care of the money.

4. They'll get in more trouble trying to do that high-profile, but quick money-making canning, than they will doing the slow door-to-door witnessing. The public knows the difference. They can sense whether it's real or if you're just out for the money.

5. That is the worst kind of...begging! I don't even consider it witnessing, they're just out begging, that's all! They're not even giving the public their money's worth. (Maria: Most of them give out Posters while canning, so the recipients are getting some Message.) But you don't get a chance to talk to the people when you stand at traffic lights going down the rows of cars collecting money. It's horrible! The public can tell that what they really want is the money.

6. I think we ought to forbid it!—Absolutely forbid it! That is not witnessing! I remember the Family got in trouble for that years ago in Australia. I was shocked when I found out they were doing that! I thought we forbade that a long time ago. You mean people are still doing it? (Maria: I understand quite a few of the people in the States have been doing it, but the new leadership has been trying to encourage the Family otherwise.) Well, let's forbid it! (Maria: They've said they can't support themselves unless they do it.) Well, if they'll witness with the right motive & the right way‚ God will support them! That's the whole trouble, they're trying to support themselves. If they'll get out & really witness & win souls, the Lord will support them, better than they could ever support themselves!

7. Let's forbid it, absolutely forbid it! This business of standing on the corner rattling a change can is nothing in the World but begging, & without the right motive. This business of working at a light where the traffic stops & running down the cars with a can, I don't like it! I don't believe it's of the Lord. I don't believe it's the right incentive or the right motive, & you just tell them to stop it! I think it's terrible & I expressed my disapproval of that years ago.

8. (Maria: What do you think about taking children out busking & having them sing & putting out a guitar case for donations, or having some of them collect donations with little cans?) Well, that's understandable. It's sort of begging, nevertheless, it's not just running down a row of cars rattling a can of coins showing that what they want is the filthy lucre! If people see a nice sweet little family standing there singing & giving a testimony & leaving the guitar case open to show that they need funds‚ that's different. They can do that in a quiet obscure place where they can pass out Posters or other literature & where they can talk to people & where people have time to think. But just running down a row of cars that are stopping at a light, that is ridiculous!—Plus it's dangerous! I do not like it & I do not approve of it & I want you to forbid it! It's disgusting! Absolutely disgusting!—And the public is disgusted with it too!

9. That newspaper must be really anti–Christ! But if you give the Devil something that he can pick on, if you give him an excuse to criticise you, well, it's your own fault! You're not being "persecuted for righteousness' sake" (Mat.5:10), you're being persecuted for greed & avarice.

10. We have told the Family what we think is the best & most fruitful ministry‚ & that's door-to-door! The more we keep off the streets, the better. (Maria: Yes, in the countries where we've forbidden them to go on the streets at all, even busking or for any reason, the Lord's really blessed them & they've done better than ever.) Of course! Especially door-to-door!

11. I don't think even office-to-office is as fruitful in most countries, because people are working & they're busy. Businessmen & officers, bosses & employers are going to resent salesmen coming in & taking their people's time. It's amazing that they have been as tolerant as they have been.

12. As far as I'm concerned, door-to-door is really the most fruitful ministry. You get to talk to people in the quiet of their own home & uninterrupted.—Provided you do catch them when they're not too busy. If they're right in the middle of cooking or doing laundry or something like that, that's different. If they're busy, just ask them, "Well, when would be the best time to come back & see you when you're not so busy?"

13. I do not like canning & I have said it before, although I didn't necessarily label it "canning." But it was a long time ago, & now it's cropping up again. Many of the people who are now doing it probably never heard what I thought of it. We condemn it, we forbid it, & anyone doing it should be remonstrated & told that we do not do that kind of thing! And if they persist in it, they should be excommunicated! It's an offence, & probably a legal offence in many places. In many local communities it's illegal to solicit funds without a license.

14. That's the proper name for it, all right‚ canning!—Or more specifically, just plain begging! So here's the word that that's absolutely forbidden, that business of just shaking a can on a street corner or running down a row of cars at a traffic light. That is not witnessing! That's just plain begging & people don't even know what you're begging for. A lot of people are good-hearted enough to give something, they figure it must be some cause that needs help, or they just do it to get rid of you.

15. Busking is something different‚ you're really giving them something in return‚ & you're giving it to them before they even give—singing & testifying & preaching the Gospel & distributing Posters. That's real witnessing. So to have an open guitar case there with a sign is fine. "The labourer is worthy of his hire. They that preach the Gospel shall live of the Gospel."—Luk.10:7; 1Cor.9:14. But if you put getting the money first, forget it! (Maria: And one word of advice we could mention about busking with children: You can't do it during school hours, only after hours or on the weekend‚ so the adults have the rest of the time to go door-to–door.)

16.I don't like street witnessing nowadays, I think it's entirely too risky. It may be fast, but it can get you in jail fast too. I think sight unseen, house-to-house, is really the safest. Office-to-office I'd say is next. (Maria: And in some circumstances & in some places, shop-to-shop & factory-to-factory are pretty good too.)

17. Amen‚ Lord! My God, give Thy people sincerity & true genuine motivation to try to reach souls & really witness & win them!—Not just going out to try to raise money to earn a living. You won't bless that, Lord‚ if that's their main motivation & their main reason for doing it. You will not bless it. You will only bless genuine witnessing & soul-winning. Lord God, when are Thy people going to get this through their heads?

18. I absolutely do not approve of this so-called canning, & I forbid it! And once warned, if people persist in it‚ then I want them excommunicated!

19. Busking is a different story. They sing & they testify & they give people their money's worth. People have time to listen & it's not something that's just rush & hustle on the corner. They call that "hustling." Busking should be in a fairly quiet place where the people can hear & take time to stop & listen; not on a busy street corner or going down a row of cars at a stoplight.

20. I remember seeing one of our little families busking on some Family video, & they had chosen such a busy place that people were passing quickly by without even stopping to listen. If you can't get them to stop & listen, forget it! In other words, if you can't get them to stop & listen to your witness & consider your Posters or lit, then forget it, you're ineffective & that's not a good thing to do or a good place to do it.

21. We do not believe in canning & we're going to can the people who do it if they don't stop it! If they haven't got enough brains & enough heart to really witness & win souls, it would be better to forget it! Get off the streets & don't go witnessing if you can't win souls. That canning is the worst kind of begging & the least witness & the most dangerous!

22. (Maria: As I understand it, some of our people are better behind-the-scenes workers, but they're not so good at personal witnessing.) Fine, let them cook & wash dishes & serve tables & wash the clothes & take care of the babies & stay home, freeing the others to be out witnessing more! They can do the services that are needed. But somebody's got to witness!

23. (Maria: Some people in the Homes may eventually have to get jobs, especially in the States, to provide a cover for the rest of the Home, while the others in the Home do the outreach. In other countries‚ some of our people have had to take part-time jobs in order to get a visa so that they can continue their witness.) Of course! I've said that before. Yes! Amen! TYL!


1 What motives should you or shouldn't you have for going out to meet people? (2,3,17) If we witness the right way, Who will support us? (6) If you can't personally witness to help your Home, what can you do? (22,23)

2 Why is canning a "high profile" dangerous activity? (4,16) Is persecution always a result of doing the right thing? (9) After reading this Letter what would you say is our Family policy on canning? (6,7) What if someone wants to keep doing it? (13,18)