Recently I read a speech that taught: “Perhaps the greatest indicator of character is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us.” I love this principle.
I thought about all the good parents I know who, after a long tiring day, will care for the needs of their tired children before turning attention to their own needs. That’s great character.
I considered this principle yesterday during Fast Sunday as well. In the LDS Church today, one Sabbath day each month is set aside for the purpose of fasting. Members of the Church go without food and water for two consecutive meals in a 24-hour period and then contribute the money that would have been spent for that food to those in need.
In other words, the commandment is to humble ourselves before God by voluntarily refraining from eating and drinking and then, while in our hunger, we are to think of others and give an offering to provide for their needs in food.
So in addition to all the other spiritual and physical benefits of fasting, for the first time I saw it as a character confirming commandment as well. What a blessing.