Today was 5th Sunday at church. When we have a 5th Sunday in the month we do not have Relief Society or Priesthood meetings, but we combine our meetings and the Bishopric talks on a topic, chosen by the Bishop. During Sacrament meeting today I told TJ I thought it would either be on construction for our new building or tithing.
It was tithing. The Sacrament talks were also about tithing. Tithing means we give 10% of our income to the church. It is a commandment of God in Malachi 3. Obviously God does not need the money, but it is an expresssion of faith and love and does go to the construction and maintenance of church buildings as well as other needs of the church. As full tithe payers we also enjoy the blessings of use of the church building for free(I was able to have my wedding and reception in the church free of charge), worthiness to go to the temple and other blessings in our lives. It is a promise from God that if we pay tithing we will be blessed. We must also give of our tithings willingly and happily. I have received many blessings in my life as a result of paying tithing.
They also talked about Fast Offerings. On typically the first Sunday of the month we fast for 2 consecutive meals and the money we would have spent on those meals(or more if we are able to) is given as a Fast Offering to the church. This money goes to help members and nonmembers in our community who are in need. The Fast Offering is not a requirement as Tithing is, but will also result in blessings if you give. One of my goals is to increase my Fast Offerings.
There are also other offerings you may make or donate to through the church. These include the Ward Missionary Fund which helps members from our wards who are on their missions, General Missionary Funds which help missionaries serving in our wards or around the world, Humanitarian Aid which helps those in need around the world through LDS charites, Book of Mormon fund which helps provide free Book of Mormons to anyone who wants one(if you would like one please let me know and I will send you one), Perpetual education Fund that provides low interest loans to help those who want an education to get it, Temple Patron Fund that helps people who cannot afford to travel to a temple to get to one and anther fund I can't remember the name of, but it is a one time donation to build a memorial site for something on the Susquehnna River. I think it is to commemorate Joseph Smith and another member being baptized by John the Baptist and being given the keys of the priesthood. I also want to start contributing regularly to these funds every couple months.
We also had a young man in our ward receive his mission call this week to serve in the Minneapolis, MN mission soon. He leaves for the MTC(Missionary Training Center) in Salt Lake City in March. Since I know him I am wanting to send a couple care packages and letters while he is gone.
I really enjoyed church this morning and hearing more about tithing and the different offerings we can make.
Does your church have any charitable programs they run or support?