Monday, June 18, 2012

Public Speaking

Ben and I were asked to speak on Fast Offerings and Tithing in church on Sunday.

Really?!?  Seriously?!?!

I don't even know where to begin.  Each talk I read and scripture I find, the past 3 years comes screaming at me.  When Ben lost his job a week before Christmas, I was a stay at home mom and he was now jobless with no prospects.  The economy was crashing and there was no option in the industry he had been in to go anywhere else.  His dream for that career was gone.  We had put all our eggs into that basket, hoping and praying they would hatch.  When it all crashed down around us, devastation can't even come close describe the feelings we had.

I think of all our trials.  The hardships, heartbreaks and most of all the blessings.  I cry when I read each new talk because I understand.

I guess this is what empathy truly is.  To have a complete understanding and knowledge.

I have found the Atonement of my Savior reaches past sins and into every single heartbreak we face in life.  I have learned that we are the answer to others prayers.  I have learned that as we follow the law of Tithing and Fast Offerings, the gates of heaven open and blessings flood our lives.

I have been in tears each and EVERY time I have thought about this talk and what I am suppose to share.  What qualifies me?  What is the Lord trying to teach me in this?

Yes there are still weeks I have to choose between food and tithing.  When I pay my tithing first, everything just falls into place and it works out.  Even though I have seen the blessings, there are still weeks of doubt when I say but I really need food and gas for the cars.  Those are the weeks it takes more than just faith.  I am weaker than I wish and I wish that I never doubted that my Heavenly Father and Savior would bless me.  It isn't always an easy decision.  It is hard when it is a choice between purchasing food for your house and gas for your vehicle.  I wish I didn't have times where I had to find the strength to be faithful in those situations.

However, that is exactly WHY the Lord has provided us with The United Order, The Law or Consecration or as we now call it, "The church welfare program". 

In April 2011 Conference, President Henry B. Eyring stated, "Because the Lord hears their cries and feels your deep compassion for them, He has from the beginning of time provided ways for His disciples to help.  He has invited His children to consecrate their time, their means, and themselves to join with Him in serving others.

His way of helping has at times been called living the law of consecration.  In another period His was was called the united order.  In our time it is called the Church welfare program.

The names and the details of operation are changed to fit the needs and conditions of people.  But always the Lord's way to help those in temporal need requires people who out of love have consecrated themselves and what they have to God and to His work.

He has invited and commanded us to participate in His work to lift up those in need.  We make a covenant to do that in the waters of baptism and in the holy temples of God.  We renew the covenant on Sundays when we partake of the sacrament."

I find it interesting that there is no age limit to the request to help others in need.

Growing up, my parents often shared the story of my Great Grandma Whitear.  She owned and lived on a dairy farm in Peterson, UT which is up the Weber Canyon.  Winters are bitter cold there and this winter was no different.  The great depression had hit the family like everyone else.  On top of it all, my grandmother was a widow.  The only money left was the money for tithing.  They were out of coal to warm their home but knew she must pay her tithing.  She took the money immediately to the bishop and then instructed her kids to walk along the river bank and find what wood they could to burn that night to try and stay warm.  That night as the last wood was burning out, a knock came to my grandma's door.  The man on the other side said, "The Spirit awoke me and told me you were cold."  He provided my grandma with the coal she and her children needed.  My grandma used faith in paying her tithing knowing the Lord would and will provide.  It was literally her "widows 2 mites".

In Mark 12:41-44 it states:
 41 ¶And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
 42 And there came a certain apoor widow, and she threw in two bmites, which make a farthing.
 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this apoor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
 44 For all they did cast in of their aabundance; but she of her bwant did ccast in dall that she had, even all her living.

Being a mother I have faced some of these trials over the last few years. I have had to face the choice of food or tithing or utilities or tithing.  It was NEVER an easy decision, yet I ALWAYS knew the correct answer and that we would be ok.  I know this because of the faith my parents instilled in my in stories of my grandparents as well as the way they lived their lives.

Early in my life, from the time I can remember, tithing and fast offerings was taught to me as a gift and blessing that we get as we give.  My parents gave me the gift of finding faith in these key principles.  My dad and I had several talks throughout my younger life about how important fast offerings and tithing was.  He shared his testimony with me of these blessings.  He personally bore his testimony to me of this as well as word of mouth.

Word of mouth you ask?  But tithing and fast offerings is confidential.  Well it is only confidential if you don't have the room across the hall, no bedroom doors closed and you are awake with insomnia as your parents discuss concerns over job, budget and life.  Whenever my dad would be facing "cut backs" at work, he increased his fast offerings.  My mom had told me this but I recall 1 time in my teen years.  I was graduated from High School living at home going to the local college.  I was lying in bed late one night (or early one morning depending on which way you think of it) as I heard my mom and dad start talking.  They were talking of cutback and my dad said, "I will just have to increase our fast offerings again and we will be ok!" 

That has never left me.  They have no clue I heard that conversation.  That night as I lyed in bed I thought of my job, my life and my luxuries.  I had a nice room in a nice house in a nice neighborhood.  I had a good job that allowed me to pay for my college tuition as well as enjoy my shopping trips and activities I wanted.  That night I realized "I" was now an adult.  I know had these responsibilities.  I was earning enough money that I should no longer be piggy backing on my parents fast offerings.  It was now time for me to offer up more than my 10% tithing to the Lord.  That week, as I wrote out my check for tithing I included a generous fast offering.  Even though when the Aaronic priesthood came to my parents house they didn't have an envelope specifically for me, I still had a slip I could pick up at the bishops office and I could put money into the church funds.

 Whenever I think of tithing and fast offerings, I think of Gratitude.  My Grandma Ivie's Favorite song was "Because I have been Given Much".  She always felt so blessed with what she had been given in life and she shared the meager living she had with one and all.  She is another example in my life and heritage of someone that gives her "widow's 2 mites".

I have been blessed with an amazing heritage.  One that has taught me that no matter how old or young, much or little I have, I always have something to give to someone, somewhere.

Well thank you blog!  Yes this is more a place for me.  I know some people read but honestly many times this is a place for me to write.  I am HORRID about writing in a journal and I tried an online journal and I could never make it work.  For some reason, this place just works for me.

Now that I have shared all the deep emotions this talk has brought to the fore-front of my mind; hopefully now I can go write a talk that the Lord wants me to share.

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