The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am a member, asks for the members to act with faith on the promise made in the Bible found in Malachi:
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
This is a personal account of my own that I felt to share on this blog:
Yesterday (Nov 1, 2011) as I prepared our budget for this month, I again became keenly aware of blessings that have been literally poured out upon our family these past two years. I feel so strongly about it that I thought maybe it would be something worth sharing.
I use Excel to prepare our budget every month. I receive my husband’s paycheck (which is usually always the same) and then proceed to open my excel sheet which was saved from last month and change amounts in the categories to fit our current month’s needs (they usually stay pretty much the same, but not always) and then save it as the new month’s name and print it and close the sheet. The reason this is significant is because I usually see just what last month’s budget looked like and then make changes to it and save it as a new name, however, this time- yesterday- I opened November 2010’s excel sheet instead of October 2011 sheet and proceeded to make changes. But oh the changes that had to be made were glorious! For most of this year, 2011, the changes have been minor. A few more dollars into the heating bill, a copay here or there, or a family trip that needs to be budgeted in. But having last November’s sheet open, I saw how far we have come financially in just one year! I had to DELETE a credit card, two medical loans, lower insurance amounts, ect, ect, ect due to the fact that these items had been paid off or lowered due to new or better services opened up to us. But one section I had to raise, double in fact- Fast Offerings.
About 3 years ago, Chayce’s father was talking with us about the hard times they had as a newly married couple with young children and trying to dig out of debts. He mentioned how their Bishop suggested to them that if they give a more generous Fast Offering, double their current offerings, the Lord would bless them with the things they needed. Tim talked of how it didn’t make sense to give more to get more, but with faith they did as the Bishop suggested and within a couple years, a couple YEARS mind you, not like the next week or anything, but a couple years later they had better income, less sickness, and were able to slowly crawl out of debts they felt they would never be rid of. It wasn’t until about 6 months after that, that I began seriously worrying about our financial state at the end of 2009 after a couple years of seemingly relentless health problems and house problems amid other circumstances out of our control that loomed over our heads with the cries of debt and collections agencies. After praying and fasting about what to do and looking into many resources for credit counseling, consolidating debt agencies, and trying to negotiate our bills Chayce and I remembered his dad’s story and with faith, we doubled our fast offering KNOWING that it would leave a bill unpaid, and promised to serve others as much as we could and magnify our church callings as best we could.
Within just 6 months Chayce’s pay was raised and I got a job at BYUI that allowed us to be relieved of many small debts (that equaled over $8,000). We recognized the hand of the Lord in these opportunities and are grateful beyond words. I must admit also that our awareness of our spending habits and ability to make wise financial choices was also edified. By the end of 2010 we were about half way to our goal we had set a year earlier and our heath problems were subsiding. And in August of 2011, when I was able to double the number of piano students from last year miraculously easily (another tender mercy from the Lord) we decided that we had the means and the desire to yet again, double our Fast Offerings and as I discovered yesterday by looking at the budget sheet from November 2010 compared to our November 2011 budget, we have met and exceeded our goals for our debt amounts, our savings, the retirement account and a few other small needs were also met. We have also tried to be generous when we can and give whatever we can temporally as well as spiritually when we are able and I testify that it has been given back to us 100 fold. Among the regular problems and trials of this earthly life, we are closer as a couple, closer as a family, we find more time for scriptures, temple trips, dates, family trips (paid in cash, not credit :)), and many other tender mercies from the Lord. My testimony of Fast Offerings and the Lord’s promise that He will provide the things you righteously desire and need if you have faith and give generously to His church, is firm and dear to my heart and I express this to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.