Feb 6, 2015

The Law of the Fast: A Personal Responsibility to Care for the Poor and Needy

by Bishop Dean M. Davies

"Caring for the poor and the needy is fundamental gospel doctrine and an essential element in the eternal plan of salvation."  

It is our duty to help care for the poor and needy.  I felt this talk went hand -in - hand with Elder Holland's talk- Aren't We All Beggars.  (For more thoughts on this subject read this post here)

". . .The Lord has established the law of the fast and fast offerings to bless His people and to provide a way for them to serve those in need."
"As personal followers of the Savior, we have a personal responsibility to care for the poor and needy.  Faithful Church members everywhere assist by fasting each month- abstaining from food and water for 24 hours- and then giving to the Church a financial fast offering equal to at lest the value of the food they would have eaten."

Last week, my Stake had their biannual Stake Conference.  In this conference, we were encouraged to pay a generous fast offering - "BE GENEROUS!  This is something that is very important to the Lord."  
We were also invited to have our children pay a fast offering, even if it's just pennies every month.  By doing this, we are "teaching our children to think about and care for the poor and needy".

The blessings that come from fasting are tremendous!  

(See Isaiah 58:8-11)

You'll have the glory of God.
The Lord will answer your prayers.
The Lord will guide us continually.
We will feel good about ourselves.

"The tremendous blessings that come [from fasting] have been spelled out in every dispensation, and here the Lord is telling us through this great prophet why there is fasting, and the blessings that come from fasting. . . If you analyze . . . .the 58th chapter of the book of Isaiah you will find unraveled why the Lord wants us to pay fast offerings, why he wants us to fast.  It's because by qualifying thus we can call and the Lord can answer.  We can cry and the Lord will say, "Here I am."

"Do we ever want to be in a condition where we can call and he won't answer?  We will cry in our distress and he won't be with us?  I think it is time we are thinking about these fundamentals because these are the days that lie ahead, when we are going to need more and more the blessings of the Lord, when the judgments are poured out without mixture upon the whole earth."
- President Harold B. Lee

"No member of the Church who has helped provide for those in need ever forgets or regrets the experience.  Industry, thrift, self-reliance, and sharing with others are not new to us."
- President Thomas S Monson

-". . .  Begin the fast with prayer, giving gratitude for blessings in [our] life while seeking the Lord's blessings and strength through the fasting period."
-"Complete fulfillment of the law of the fast occurs when the fast offering is made to the Lord's agent, the bishop."

"I invite each of us to become more like the Savior by caring for the poor and needy, by faithfully keeping the law of the fast, and by contributing a generous fast offering."