MONDAY 20th FEBRUARY 1984
CAN WE FAST TO RAISE MONEY?
READING: Mark 2:27,28 English - Katty Chinese - Wilson
27 And he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath;
28 so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath."
COMMENTARY - Stephen
Jesus had been showing by his actions of picking and eating the grain and healing a sick man on the Sabbath day, that the religious leaders had wrong priorities. They were putting the rules before man. Jesus said very clearly that rules were made for man, not man for the rules.
It is just the same with the idea of fasting. Christians (and people of other religions) have used fasting as an aid to meditation for many centuries. Through meditation, prayer and fasting it is possible to open our hearts and minds to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Through the proper presentation of our bodies, God may be able to speak to our minds more easily. Fasting can be very helpful as one way to prepare our bodies for God's influence.
But the Bible does not say that fasting has any spiritual significance by itself. The person who fasts to lose weight is not likely to hear God speak to him or her just because he or she is going without food. If fasting is to be an aid to communication with God then we must set our deliberately to achieve that result.
It is easy to see that the 30 Hour Famine is not a fast of this kind. The purpose of the 30 Hour Famine is to fast so that we might experience first-hand what hunger feels like - if only for 30 hours. Through that experience perhaps we will understand hunger a little better. From that understanding we hope people will begin to care. Thus our 30 Hour Famine is a fast whose purpose is to help people under hunger. This is not the same as fasting for Christian spiritual growth, but it is still a very noble reason to go without food.
So, if someone asks us what the Bible has to say about using fasting for fundraising, we can only answer "It has nothing to say - either for or against." The Bible has much to say about using fasting as part of our Christian worship and meditation, but it is silent on the use of fasting for other purposes.
However, the Bible has much to say about the Christian's responsibility to the poor. Through our 30 Hour Famine perhaps many people will learn a little more about their responsibility to help the poor. Our Lord, Jesus, would be pleased that we did not allow the rules to blind us from the good that might be gained through our unusual use of fasting. Jesus might even remind us that "The fast was made for man, not man for the fast"
Welcome back to Elizabeth from her week in Singapore. Any news from Singapore?
Heavenly Father, help us to be good listeners to the questions people ask of us and our work. Help us to have the courage to stand up for the good and right.
In Jesus' Name we pray. A-men