Wednesday, March 14, 2012

THE FAST


Cody f miller
Oops, this past Sunday I had to stop at the grocery store after church, just a few items for dinner (which I cooked on Saturday). Lately there seems to be an increase in people collecting for charities who are strategically stationed at the door or at the curb as you walk up. They range from Boy and Girl Scouts selling cookies and popcorn, to various people collecting signatures for proposed political issues and whatever. On this day, there were two women,each facing the other. I thought at first that they were working together, but the body language said something totally different. One woman was standing in front of a table covered with cookies and a small jar for donations. I couldn't make out the name of her charity. She was really friendly toward me, she complimented my jacket, but she didn't ask for a donation. The 2nd lady was standing at the side glaring at her. I am sure they had made introductions earlier. This lady seemed a little disgruntled, a little frumpy and she was clutching some flyer's in her hands. So I turned to her and asked: "Do you have something for me?" She didn't seem to want to give me a flyer, I had to convince her. The flyer was for one of my favorite charities for kids, "The Women who Care Ministries: Helping Kids Eat, Back Pack Food Program." So here is a shout out to them, http://www.womenwhocareministries.org/
So I grabbed a basket and hurried on my way. I totally forgot about the food donation, so I looked at the flyer for something quick to pick up. There was an extensive and specific list of food items. All of the foods that kids ate and they came in small packages so little hands can hold them. There was stuff like small cans of ravioli,and  small packages of crackers. I noted that the Charity very nicely asked that only items on the list be purchased. So as I was shopping I was a little annoyed because it took me more time and effort than my own groceries. But it occurred to me that as it always goes in these circumstances, what I was doing was not about me anymore.

Matthew 18:14 Even so, it is not the will of your Father who is in Heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
I thought about the fast offering and I wanted to share this principle with the 2nd charity lady. I later learned that she had baked 3 types of cookies to give as a token for any donations. I gave the food to the ministry ladies and I gave some money to the cookie lady, she was collecting for lymphoma. I told her about the fast offering of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I broke it down and said that we fast for 2 meals, and we estimate the probable cost and donate or make an offering to be given to the poor. She thought that was such an awesome idea and she wanted to "try it". She gave me a cookie.

My husband and I have been studying the record in Isaiah 58 which details in no uncertain terms the Lord's requirements for the fast. I confess that I have not fasted in the proper way, and I wanted to know and understand fully just why I was required to fast and what was it for? Couldn't we just donate the money? Sure you could do that but think of what you would be missing. The missing meals are a psychological hurdle for me and my husband,not because we fear hunger, but because we at times fail to make a binding commitment to do what Heavenly Father asks.
Isaiah 58:4-5 4: Behold ye fast for strife and debate, (or fasting without spiritual motivation which engenders discomfort and irritability) and to smite the fist of wickedness, ye shall not fast (in hypocrisy) as ye do this day, to make your voice be heard on high
5: Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his back as a bulrush? (false humility) and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast? And an acceptable day of the Lord?
This is a "right between the eyeballs" type of commandment. And I feel it was designed that way, because as you "pick yourself up" from the blow, the Savior will also show you a visual in
Matthew 6:16
16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly
Then the question is,how much Lord? The cost of two "Happy Meals", what is that?, 10.00. Or would it be better to calculate the cost of preparing lunch and dinner, what if I only eat dinner? What time to start, what time to end? What does everyone else do?
Mark 12:41-43
41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.
42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,which make a quadrans.
43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;
But, the fast consists of not only missing a couple of meals and giving money, because I have done this and I came away feeling empty, because I felt that there was something more I needed to do. With fasting come prayer, but then what shall I pray about, or for whom shall I pray for? Praying in this manner is new for me,since I have always prayed, but I believe that Heavenly Father wants us to dig deeper.
Matthew 6:6-8
6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him
And finally, Lord, who is for? Who will  receive this sacrifice? This portion and why?
Isaiah 58:10-12
10 If you extend your soul to the hungry

And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

11 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

12 Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In
In  verse 10, the Lord asks us to "extend our souls to the hungry", which literally means to "pour out "that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and the need of the afflicted". So in this fast offering, we are asked to sacrifice of ourselves, to literally become the offering for the hungry and afflicted, so that they may be filled. So I understand now and I will go and do what the Lord has commanded me to do.

So, please check out the website for the women who care ministries, it will warm your heart just as it did mine, and love and compassion will fill your bowels.   
Post a Comment