Have you seen a space on your tithing slip for fast offerings? Here’s where the money you donate to that program will go:
We’re asked to fast once a month, skipping two meals, doing without food or liquid for 24 hours. Then we donate this money to those who might skip all their meals if we didn’t help. We’re giving, but not cutting into our own budget. If you’re unable to fast, be creative and find something else you can sacrifice to provide that money. Some people who are unable to fast go without snacks until they’ve saved the amount they would have donated without a fast. Others have very plain meals, just enough to meet their needs without anything extra and come up with the money that way.
Fast offerings are a powerful gift. So often we read about hunger throughout the world and feel helpless. The Lord has given us a way, though, to make a difference within our own sphere, to help people we know and care about, to give to those the bishop has personally determined to be in true need. Giving to those in need, when it’s our turn to be prosperous, or comparatively so, allows us to strive toward the eventual goal of our faith. We can become like the city of Enoch, for example. The City of Enoch became Zion, and God dwelt there with his people. “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18.) “There was no contention among all the people.” (4 Ne. 1:13.) “They did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God.” (4 Ne. 1:12.) “The love of God … did dwell in the hearts of the people.” (4 Ne. 1:15.) “They had all things common among them.” (4 Ne. 1:3.) “There was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18.)
Wouldn’t you love to live in such a society, where there is no contention, no poverty, everyone sharing with one another out of love, not through taxation or programs, but simply people reaching out to one another? It’s happened several times in this earth time. The people of Melchizedek in Abraham’s time reached this level. The New Testament Saints following the Savior’s earthly ministry lived this way. The Nephites who were visited by the resurrected Christ also achieved this celestial level of living. It’s been done and it can be done again. If we can’t end the selfishness of the outside world, we can certainly end it in our own personal world. We can start by making generous fast offerings. When we envision the costs of the meals we’re skipping, we can think feast, not macaroni and cheese. Then we can look beyond that to find those in need in our own little universe.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.