For those of my readers that don’t know what this means, first, let me explain to you what FAST OFFERINGS are. Like many religions, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints FAST (we have no food or drink) the first Sunday of every month. Then we donate money that we would have spent on the food and more. The donation could be $5; it could $500; it could be $5000. The donation is any amount that the individual or couples see fit and it is different for every family. This is the OFFERING. Put the two together and you have a Fast Offering. (This is not to be confused with Tithing which is another principle altogether.)
The money is donated privately via an envelope and only 1-2 people see it, not the whole congregation. No specific amounts are recommended or expected; we are just encouraged to be “generous” in our offering. This donated money goes directly to helping the poor and needy in our own neighborhoods and communities.
As a bishop, my husband was in charge of this money and I know that fast offering donations paid mortgages, fixed cars, helped with medical costs, bought groceries and clothes, and paid utility bills of families and individuals in need. Each ward (church unit) strives to have enough money to pay for those that need help in their area. If there is surplus, the money goes to helping others around the world. (You can click here to see where the money goes.)
Okay, so now that we are all understand each other, let’s get back to Chad and me and thrift. How is increasing our fast offering, or giving away more money, thrifty?
Call it karma. Call it a law of the universe. Or call it God’s law, but I believe the more you give, the more you receive. And when you give away money, you actually open up space in your world to receive more money back.
This isn’t a crazy Mormon mom idea. Several people get this. The shoe company, Toms, gives away one free pair of shoes for every shoe you buy. Chick-fil-A donates to PBS kids. Tony Robbins, the famous life coach, tells his clients to give away 10% of their income to charity. The book “The Secret” and Oprah talk about this law too.
They all understand the more you give, the more you receive.
I also know this to be personally true.
Chad and I had a church leader tell us several years back that, “The surest way to double your income is to double your fast offering.” We put his statement to the test. When the next fast Sunday rolled around, we donated double what we had in the past. We did this for a few months. Around that time Chad got a new job that paid much more than Chad was currently making. In fact, Chad’s first paycheck with his new company was more money than we made the whole year before. We were able to get completely out of debt (besides our house) with one check.
Now if that ain’t a testimonial for you, I don’t know what is.
We upped our fast offering amount again a couple years after that. We didn’t see as dramatic of a result as we did the first time, but our income steadily increases, our future looks bright, and Chad’s jobs have allowed us to have a very flexible, full life.
Now we know it is time to up our fast offerings again. No one told us to. We just believe that fast offerings are supposed to be a sacrifice. We believe it should hurt a little when we write the check or we aren’t really sacrificing. Put another way, if we don’t feel a little pinch when we write that fast offering check, it isn’t enough money. And we weren’t feeling a big enough pinch, so we knew it was time to up the amount. Plus Chad is growing his company and we feel like it is a good time to give more away.
I don’t tell you our story to boast or to make you feel guilty or to say it is always simple. And I don’t want you to get the idea that we pay more just so we can get more. To be clear, we donate fast offerings. 1. To be obedient 2. To help the poor and needy 3. To learn the principle of sacrifice.
But rather I share our experience with you, to challenge our idea of thrift. We usually think thrift is saving or keeping money, but could we actually have more money if we gave more away? Could we increase our fast offering? Could we donate money to some charity ? Could we help a family in need?
Because a natural byproduct or blessing of giving more is receiving more.
I guess that is all I am really trying to say.