Sensible

A generous Fast Offering

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I have always had a concern for paying a fair fast offering. When we were raising 5 kids back in the day we lived paycheck to paycheck. Our meals were very simple and cheap so I felt the most I could pay was $2 per person per meal.  Now that there's just my husband and I I pay the same amount so in my mind it feels generous. My question is how much does the average home cooked meal cost per person? When we go out to eat for breakfast or lunch we average $5-$10 per person per meal so would that be a generous fast offering? I really want to know what the average person considers a generous fast offering! It weighs on my mind that I don't want to cheat the Lord!

Edited by Sensible

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It's kind of a personal thing how much one donates to fast offerings but I'll answer for me anyway.  

I am the only one in my household and I donate $20 a month.  For one I do my biggest meal of the week on Sunday and there is usually enough leftovers to last 2-3 days.

2nd I've been on the receiving end of fast offerings and I feel like it's my way of giving back by giving what some might consider a little more.

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11 minutes ago, mirkwood said:

I pay a set amount in January (I pay the whole year up front)  and then follow any promptings to donate more throughout the year.

Interesting.  I've considered doing this myself.  I also get urges now and again to up my tithing for a given period, too.  I follow the prompting without really understanding it.

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23 hours ago, Sensible said:

I have always had a concern for paying a fair fast offering. When we were raising 5 kids back in the day we lived paycheck to paycheck. Our meals were very simple and cheap so I felt the most I could pay was $2 per person per meal.  Now that there's just my husband and I I pay the same amount so in my mind it feels generous. My question is how much does the average home cooked meal cost per person? When we go out to eat for breakfast or lunch we average $5-$10 per person per meal so would that be a generous fast offering? I really want to know what the average person considers a generous fast offering! It weighs on my mind that I don't want to cheat the Lord!

Of all things (offerings) that we are asked to give in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - I am most grateful for the opportunity to pay a fast offering.  I believe that a fast and offering is the greatest gift of love and sacrifice that a Saint of G-d can offer to G-d and our fellow man.  Even if someone has nothing - giving back by fasting and what one would have had to another is at the very heart and core a divine act that can only be influenced by the spirit of Christ.

I am convinced that those not inspired by a fast offering is because they have never actually fasted and made an offering specific to any spiritual purpose.  So here is what I would recommend.  Ponder and meditate to become aware of some spiritual need - preferably for someone in desperate need.  Then before beginning your personal fast and if possible join with others aware of the spiritual need and pray together in behalf of the spiritual need (family is a good join with others).  And also in private - have your personal prayer with G-d our Eternal Father.  Then begin your fast (preferably  for two meals or less).  From time to time are you are so concerned continue with your personal prayers.  Do not avoid efforts to ponder and listen to spiritual impressions - also avoid making any outward manifestations of your personal fasting.  One may want to include in their fast of food and drink; a fast of other things - like certain types of music, entertainment or other worldly "things".   Before concluding your fast pray again with those that you joined with at the beginning of your fast as well as your personal prayer.  Also include in your fast an offering to G-d and your fellow men as you so feel inspired.

As a side note - When I have been aware of offerings being made in a ward, I have been surprised and in wonder that the greater part of offerings come from those of less means.  Sometimes I fast and make offering as a partition to G-d  in behalf of those who are currently fasting and offering for someone else - and sometimes even for those fasting and offering for some personal crisis.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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I  really hate talking about this stuff... because it's incredibly hard to discuss what one personally does without it coming across as at least a little showboating.  "Look how generous I am!"

The idea behind fast offerings is to take the cost of the meals you would have had and donate that amount.  Period.  That's what's being asked.  Don't overthink it, don't worry about whether it's "enough."  Don't compare yourself to others and don't brag about what you do.  

If you want to do more, great.  That's entirely up to you.  

The part that seems to be the most complicated is that if you normally make a meal of, say, a tuna sandwich and some fruit, it may be hard to estimate accurately, since bread isn't sold by the slice, it's sold by the loaf.  What's an individual slice of bread cost?  What's a tablespoon of mayo cost?  

Just make your best guess.  If a loaf of bread costs $X and the number of slices is Y, then divide X/Y=Value.  Do the same for mayo.  Or  you can estimate, as long as you're sincerely trying to make your estimate, maybe overestimate just a touch in order to avoid shortchanging.  Add a can of tuna and the cost of whatever other ingredients you like in your tuna sandwiches.    Add the cost of the fruit and done.  It  probably doesn't amount to much.  I bet a tuna sandwich and a couple pieces of fruit come out to less than $5.  Don't sweat it and don't feel guilty if the guy next to you talks about how he likes to throw in $20 per meal.  That guy's probably bragging, either about how generous he is or how expensive his meal tastes are.  (This is another good reason to keep the amount of your offerings to yourself.)

I don't know exactly how my wife calculates our fast offerings.  I trust her to do so honestly and that's enough for me.

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4 minutes ago, unixknight said:

I  really hate talking about this stuff... because it's incredibly hard to discuss what one personally does without it coming across as at least a little showboating.  "Look how generous I am!"

The idea behind fast offerings is to take the cost of the meals you would have had and donate that amount.  Period.  That's what's being asked.  Don't overthink it, don't worry about whether it's "enough."  Don't compare yourself to others and don't brag about what you do.  

If you want to do more, great.  That's entirely up to you.  

The part that seems to be the most complicated is that if you normally make a meal of, say, a tuna sandwich and some fruit, it may be hard to estimate accurately, since bread isn't sold by the slice, it's sold by the loaf.  What's an individual slice of bread cost?  What's a tablespoon of mayo cost?  

Just make your best guess.  If a loaf of bread costs $X and the number of slices is Y, then divide X/Y=Value.  Do the same for mayo.  Or  you can estimate, as long as you're sincerely trying to make your estimate, maybe overestimate just a touch in order to avoid shortchanging.  Add a can of tuna and the cost of whatever other ingredients you like in your tuna sandwiches.    Add the cost of the fruit and done.  It  probably doesn't amount to much.  I bet a tuna sandwich and a couple pieces of fruit come out to less than $5.  Don't sweat it and don't feel guilty if the guy next to you talks about how he likes to throw in $20 per meal.  That guy's probably bragging, either about how generous he is or how expensive his meal tastes are.  (This is another good reason to keep the amount of your offerings to yourself.)

I don't know exactly how my wife calculates our fast offerings.  I trust her to do so honestly and that's enough for me.

Why do I feel like I've just been slapped in the face?

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12 minutes ago, pam said:

Why do I feel like I've just been slapped in the face?

Without knowing the tone you intended, I'm going to default to assuming it was lighthearted. :)

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1 minute ago, unixknight said:

Without knowing the tone you intended, I'm going to default to assuming it was lighthearted. :)

Well I'm the only one that mentioned an amount which happened to be $20 which is the same amount that you talked about bragging etc.    So naturally I assumed.  :)  

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Just now, pam said:

Well I'm the only one that mentioned an amount which happened to be $20 which is the same amount that you talked about bragging etc.    So naturally I assumed.  :)  

Oh, no sorry I picked that number at pseudo-random, it wasn't meant to reference your post.  I saw that your example was a monthly amount and I was trying to focus in on the amount for a single meal.

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5 minutes ago, pam said:

Well I'm the only one that mentioned an amount which happened to be $20 which is the same amount that you talked about bragging etc.    So naturally I assumed.  :)  

Actually, I had mentioned $20 monthly fast offering in another related thread. That might be a pretty standard amount for many individuals, couples, and even families.

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9 minutes ago, unixknight said:

Oh, no sorry I picked that number at pseudo-random, it wasn't meant to reference your post.  I saw that your example was a monthly amount and I was trying to focus in on the amount for a single meal.

Well you know..I only eat $20 Rib eyes on fast Sunday.  :P   

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4 hours ago, Grunt said:

Interesting.  I've considered doing this myself.  I also get urges now and again to up my tithing for a given period, too.  I follow the prompting without really understanding it.

I would be careful with this as we have been counseled by apostles and prophets to pay 10%.  Perhaps that prompting may better fit into the fast offerings?  You are the one receiving the prompting though, so follow what you feel is best.

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7 minutes ago, mirkwood said:

I would be careful with this as we have been counseled by apostles and prophets to pay 10%.  Perhaps that prompting may better fit into the fast offerings?  You are the one receiving the prompting though, so follow what you feel is best.

Maybe.  I've discussed it with my Bishop and he didn't seem to have anything to say.

 

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3 minutes ago, unixknight said:

Ok everybody, dinner at Pam's house next month...  Be sure to avoid breakfast and lunch that day so you can come hungry!

Actually I would eat before you come.  One Rib Eye isn't going to go very far.  I can't feed 5000 with one steak like someone else we are familiar with.  Or should be anyway.  :)  

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Here is an equation that my father used to use to calculate his fast offering (He was an accountant)

Weekly shopping budget divided by 7 days per week, divided by three meals per day times two meals, since we fast for two meals. The “generousity” comes from the fact that the calculation is based on the whole of the shopping budget, and not just the food component. It's a simple process to modify the equation to take into account older, earning children living at home who should be paying their own fast offering.

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3 hours ago, mordorbund said:

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Those are dinosaur ribs! I always thought they were a gigantic, weirdly shaped tray. Amazing what fifty additional years of life experience will do to your perceptions.

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2 hours ago, Vort said:

Those are dinosaur ribs! I always thought they were a gigantic, weirdly shaped tray. Amazing what fifty additional years of life experience will do to your perceptions.

Got a car, gonna push it with my feet now
Gonna take my family out to eat now
Jumbo ribs at the drive-in can't be beat now
Made from brontosaurus, baby, not moo-cow
- Al Yankovic, Chair of Prehistoric Studies.

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9 minutes ago, mordorbund said:

Got a car, gonna push it with my feet now
Gonna take my family out to eat now
Jumbo ribs at the drive-in can't be beat now
Made from brontosaurus, baby, not moo-cow
- Al Yankovic, Chair of Prehistoric Studies.

Now it all makes sense.

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 True to the Faith has always been my go-to resource for questions like this; these are tricky questions because there’s really no cut-and-dry answer to them. Here’s a couple of reminders about fasting and fast offerings:

1) A fast offering is given as a result of sincere and true fasting, meaning that a true fast is as Isaiah described it. So I ask: do you fast (and thus donate ‘generously’) to “feed the hungry and clothe the needy” because you see the need and want to fill it? Or do you donate out of obligation only? If I’ve learned anything about the Gospel of Jesus Christ it’s that it is meant to change us into new and better people; from stingy to generous, from judgmental to compassionate, etc. 

2) I’ve struggled with the question too because in the past I haven’t felt that I’ve been generous enough. I am the “saver” and the money Worrying Wart in my household so giving more than is absolutely necessary or required feels like pulling out my own adult teeth. That’s because it’s a sacrifice for me to give hard earned money and trust that someone else needs it more than me (poor college student talking here 🙃), especially when I feel like I’m barely surviving. But I’ve committed to my Heavenly Father that I would live His Law of Sacrifice and give all I’ve been blessed with to building up His kingdom. When I think about these two commitments I’ve willingly made and how my giving just a little more could be the blessing I need, it’s easier to generously donate; I know HF is taking care of me as I do my personal best to follow His commandments and take care of His children. 

3) To echo some other posts in this thread, it’s a personal decision. So counsel with your husband and the Lord. Your financial situation has changed (and will likely continue to change), but the three of you will come to a place where you don’t feel like you’re giving too little or too much, but that you’re giving the Lord what he has asked of you in your situation. Comparison is the thief of joy (and confidence and security), so avoid comparing yourself and your offering to what you think others give or don’t give. Their offering is between them and the Lord, just like yours. 

4) The Lord loves you and is grateful for your obedience and your desire to follow Him ♥️ He’s extra grateful when He can give you peace and ease your mind. 

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