Lessons from ‘financial fasting’

Some demons can be cast out, Jesus instructed his disciples in Mark 9:29, only through prayer and fasting. It’s a teaching on the power of temporary, voluntary self-denial to energize us and focus our intention.

I relearned this during a time in my life when I was fasting once a week for a specific prayer concern. Though I envisioned enduring hours of hunger pangs, dazily dreaming of Oreos, Doritos and ice cream, I was pleasantly surprised to miss the food only a little. And far from feeling weak, I actually felt strong and centered.*

By doing without I learned how little of what I consume I actually need for nutrition. I saw the degree to which my incessant nibbling and snacking arose out of pure habit, and not real hunger.

As an experiment, I expanded this to my consumer life, setting aside “financial fasting” days when I would simply buy nothing. When there arose an everyday need or want that would normally send me to the store — say, for something I thought I needed for a recipe, a cup of coffee or soft drink while “on the road,” or just to “stop by” any store for whatever — I resisted. I put the brake on impulse buying.

The lesson? A good chunk of the money I spend is just frittered away on junk I don’t really need, or even really want.

At the end of the financial fast, I felt focused, more powerful and in control of my spending. Some demons can be cast out only with prayer and fasting. For stewards, maybe financial fasting is a way to cast out the demon of overconsumption.

Copyright (c) 2013, the Rev. Rob Blezard. All rights reserved.

Reprint rights granted for congregations for nonprofit, local use. Please reprint with the following copyright notice:
© Copyright 2019, the Rev. Rob Blezard. Reprinted by permission.
Other uses, please inquire: rob@thestewardshipguy.com 

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