Q&A: Questions and Answers

    “Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, May 2003, 16

    Questions and Answers

    Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

    My Sunday School teacher told us we should pay a fast offering. But my offering wouldn’t even be enough to make much of a difference. Do I really need to pay a fast offering if I give so little?

    New Era

    • Willingness to give is as important as how much is given.

    • Anyone, of any age or financial status, can receive the blessings of paying fast offerings.

    • The blessings of the fast are many. In fact, Isaiah lists at least 15 blessings associated with fast offerings (see Isa. 58).

    • A lot of little donations add up and can make a big difference to those in need.

    • Paying offerings now will create a wonderful habit that will help many throughout your lifetime.

    Give generously of what you have, and if it isn’t much, don’t worry. In some ways your willingness to give is more important to the Lord than how much you give when paying fast offerings.

    Fast offerings are freewill offerings. That means you can decide how much to donate. Church leaders suggest that we give the amount we would have spent on the two meals we skipped in fasting, but they don’t tell us a set amount we should pay. They do, however, ask us to be generous.

    President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) said, “If we give a generous fast offering, we shall increase our own prosperity both temporally and spiritually” (Ensign, Nov. 1977, 79).

    You don’t have to be a certain age or make a certain amount of money to receive the blessings about which President Kimball spoke. If you fast with a purpose, pray, and give a generous fast offering, you will be blessed with strengthened self-control and a heart that is more open to receive guidance from the Spirit.

    The Savior taught that the act of giving is more important than the amount given (see Mark 12:41–44). He used a poor widow who gave only two mites as an example of how we should give, not because two mites would make much of a difference, but because she offered all she had with a spirit of generosity and gratitude.

    Giving with the right spirit is the most important part of your offering, but it’s important to remember that fast offerings help the poor and needy. Your offering might not do much on its own, but a lot of small donations can add up to make a big difference to those in need.

    President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency (1897–1988) said, “Everything we do to help the poor must be measured by its accomplishment in spiritual terms. Givers must give out of a righteous heart and with a willing spirit. …

    “Be liberal in your giving, that you yourselves may grow. Don’t give just for the benefit of the poor, but give for your own welfare” (Ensign, July 1982, 4). Willingly obeying the law of the fast—fasting and paying fast offerings—brings a number of blessings to us.

    Although the amount of money you earn will change, the sincerity of your offering doesn’t have to change at all. You don’t need to wait until you’re older and make more money to pay fast offerings. Starting now will help you develop a good habit for those times when you are able to give more. And if you have the true spirit of the fast, you won’t wait for fast Sunday; you’ll always be looking for ways to help others.

    President Gordon B. Hinckley

    What would happen if the principles of the fast day and the fast offering were observed throughout the world[?] The hungry would be fed, the naked clothed, the homeless sheltered. … The giver would not suffer, but would be blessed by his small abstinence” (Ensign, May 1991, 52–53).
    —President Gordon B. Hinckley


    Even though your fast offering may seem insignificant, it will help someone. It is good to get in the habit of paying a fast offering now because later it will be a greater sacrifice. It is important to remember that we do not just fast to help support the needy. Our fasting and fast offerings show our dedication to the Lord and the sincerity of our fast.
    Rebecca Crandall
    St. Louis, Missouri

    A small offering, in reality, is a big deal. If we aren’t willing to do the small things the Lord has asked of us, are we going to accomplish the great things the Lord has in store for us? All people need to do their part.
    Elder Nathan Baker
    Tennessee Nashville Mission

    The pamphlet For the Strength of Youth states that fasting includes giving a generous fast offering. The importance doesn’t lie in the amount you pay, but rather in your obedience and willingness to do what the Lord asks. If we keep simple commandments now, such as paying fast offerings, imagine how much easier it will be to obey the Lord in all things.
    Katie Bauserman
    Russell, Kentucky

    In the Bible story of the widow’s mite, the widow was blessed because she paid all she had. That shows that you don’t need to pay a lot to make a difference. If you pay a fast offering, you will be rewarded in heaven.
    Tiffany Hinton
    Hong Kong, China

    Because the branch members in my hometown paid their fast offerings, it made it possible for my family to receive assistance and have our eyes opened to the gospel. The offerings you give, big or small, add up to help those in need.
    Elder Adam Curry
    Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission

    You may be feeling that your fast offering doesn’t make a big difference, but it doesn’t really have to. It just needs to influence one life. You are helping bring joy and hope to people who need you. Even the smallest offering is worth paying.
    Lindsey Marie Boice
    Federal Way, Washington

    It doesn’t take very much to help others. It is important that we all give a little. Even if it doesn’t seem like much to you, it can make all the difference in the world.
    Tenika Cope
    Spanish Fork, Utah

    You will be blessed for what you give. In Alma 37:6 it says: “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.” So the amount you give can make a real difference.
    Clerissa Green
    McMinnville, Tennessee

    Photography by Bradley Slade