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Spirit of Thanksgiving

In this season of Thanksgiving, we naturally consider how best to express our thanks to God for His many blessings. One way to show gratitude is through tithes and offerings.

Abraham paid tithes anciently. Genesis 14:17-20.

Through the prophet Malachi, the Lord promised:

“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” Malachi 3:10.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints freely give 10% of their income to the Lord. These sacred funds are utilized in building chapels, temples, and supporting missionary work around the world.

Tithing is more a matter of faith than finance. Along with many others, I can testify that returning a tenth to the Lord has resulted in the opening of the windows of heaven. Beyond any seeming sacrifice, the Lord blesses us continually.

In addition to paying tithing, church members have a designated day of fasting each month, typically the first Sunday.

Jesus taught his disciples about fasting — see Matthew 17:14-21.

Fasting brings many blessings, including increased personal revelation, power to resist temptation, and spiritual strength.

On Fast Sundays, church members fast for two consecutive meals, gather as fellow Christians to worship God and share testimony and faith, and give a generous fast offering to help those in need.

These fast offerings help relieve hunger around the world. Through a network of Bishops’ Storehouses, including one located in Chesterfield, approximately 400,000 food orders are distributed annually to those in need.

Isaiah wrote of the blessings of heartfelt fasting:

“And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not” 58:6-11.

Finally, members also contribute to the church’s extensive humanitarian efforts, which include providing clean water and distributing wheelchairs, medicine, and supplies. On a local level, members are often the first on the scene in the wake of disaster, such as following Hurricane Michael in 2018, when a team of local members assisted in recovery efforts in New Bern, North Carolina.

In speaking of Christ’s great commandments to love God and love our neighbors, President Russell M. Nelson taught:

“When we love God with all our hearts, He turns our hearts to the well-being of others in a beautiful, virtuous cycle.”

As we approach this Thanksgiving season, may we each find ways to bear one another’s burdens, mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

In doing so, we each receive the Savior’s promise:

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Brent Roberts is the Elders Quorum President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at brentsroberts@hotmail.com.