For those of you who regularly read Directions, you know that at the beginning of 2019 I had a series of articles encouraging people to fast throughout the year. Some were fasts that came out of the Scripture that Jesus probably had participated in, and there were some fasts that maybe were updated to help you and me live in this fast-paced, unusual world in which we find ourselves. I presented four fasts: A Meal Fast, A Media Fast, A Mood Fast, and A Miser Fast. All four of them have some interesting implications for us. I’ve heard from people who have both enjoyed and even struggled with each one of the fasts, but could I share with you one of the great blessings that among numerous calls, conversations, and letters I have gotten about the Miser Fast? This one continues to bless my heart repeatedly.
All four of the fasts have been put together in a little booklet that you can receive by calling (601) 292-3278 at the Baptist Building. You can request a copy or several copies if you are going to be working with a Bible study group or a Sunday school class. God bless you as you do. The whole point of the challenge was to encourage people at least one day a month to spend that day trying to find and figure out how they can bless someone else in an unusual and maybe extraordinary way. Instead of wanting to hold everything and keep it for yourself, not just money but encouragement, blessings, help, and so break loose from being a miser, chintzy and self-centered, I want more for my attitude to bless others that are around you or maybe for the first time and the last time you’ll ever see them, bless them. Here’s a story from the Miser Fast.
A couple from Mississippi were in another state at the time. In the city where they were, they went to get something to eat. They went in, were seated, and the waitress came and was getting their drink order and having conversation with them. Everything was going well. It was a nice restaurant, good people, and a fine environment. As they progressed on into the meal, a family came in and were seated not too far from them. A mom and a dad and three children – a boy and two girls. They proceeded in their process of getting a meal and drinks and ordering.
The couple from Mississippi, the lady, felt unusually led, prompted by the Lord to do something nice for that family. She just felt nudged by the Holy Spirit and asked their waitress if it would be alright to get their ticket and pay for their meal. They of course had never seen those folks before, did not know who they were, did not know what was going on in their life, just to do something unusual, an expression of care to the family. Their waitress discreetly and thoughtfully said she could take care of that and went about getting their ticket and eventually bringing it to the couple from Mississippi.
Nothing was said; they were just going to take care of everything. As they were paying for their ticket and the waitress was taking care of taking it to the cash register, she included the bill for the family. In just a few minutes, the waitress came back to the couple. She said, “I’m sorry, but they want to order desserts,” to which the lady replied, “That’s fine. Just get their dessert order and add it all on their ticket. I’ll take care of it,” and she did. Before the couple from Mississippi could leave the restaurant, the family of five found out that their meal and desserts, everything, was taken care of. They were shocked, moved, and they pled with the waitress to please tell them who did that.
Reluctantly, she pointed at the couple and said, “That couple there did it.” The family of course did not know the couple and they could not believe that a total stranger would be so gracious to their family. At the same time, the mom began to tell the waitress why they were there. The family of five used to be a family of six. Their oldest son had battled with cancer and died while he was still young. The reason they had come to that restaurant that day is because it would have been his birthday. This was his favorite restaurant. They had all come to remember him and the good times that they had had together in the past, to remember the joy that he had brought to the family, and to enjoy one another.
Nobody in the room knew that except them. The couple from another state sitting there close by had no idea, but the family of five with one of their family members no longer with them were overwhelmed. Upon finding out what was actually taking place there that day in a restaurant, the couple from Mississippi was overwhelmed. Now I must confess to you that the man and his wife from Mississippi are not misers or spending a day that day getting away from their miserly way of life. It has become a way of life for them to care for others and be kind and thoughtful. On that day, it certainly was a glorious kind of Miser’s Fast for it had nothing to do whatsoever with them wanting more for them. They were sharing with someone they didn’t even know and certainly did not know their circumstances. What an amazing thing.
When you stop and think about that, the blessing that flowed from one couple into a family of five, within the hour would flow back to the couple as they received the glorious blessing of being a part of their life at a critical time and a wonderful time without ever being told. It was just their graciousness that provided the moment. The blessings flowed back toward them, not just as they were leaving the restaurant, long, long beyond that. After they got in their car and traveled farther and finally came back home and they were sharing with me what had happened on that day miles and miles away from home, the blessings didn’t stop there. For the blessing that they were sharing with me that had filled their heart, filled mine. The blessing that filled my heart has spilled back into the arena of Mississippi Baptist life and is now poured into your heart. Neither you nor I will be locked into a world of miserliness that becomes misery, but rather escape from that and stay away from the place that is void of blessing and being blessed and blessings growing and flowing from one person to another to another.
A Miser’s Fast is a good thing not to observe once a month, but day by day. Today, wouldn’t it be wonderful if every one of us would open our eyes and open our hearts and find one somebody that we could release the blessings that God has put in us to put on them? I can almost assure you that if not within hours, within days or weeks, those blessings will flow back into your life exponentially larger than when you extended them to someone else. It was Jesus who said give and it shall be given to you. That kind of blessing that is shaken up, poured out to overflowing, will flow into your life. So today whatever you’ve got scheduled, wherever you’re headed, make it a special day of a Miser’s Fast and bless everyone around you.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.