Giving Sermon

We continue in our stewardship series focused titled, “Enough, Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity.” Over the past three weeks we have named with stewardship is, explored what it means to be content, and also how can be faithful to what God has given to us. Today, our theme surrounds generosity and our response.
In our Gospel we are in the midst of the vineyard with a bit of trouble. The landowner has left tenants in charge of what he owns and the tenants were not always the best. When the tenant comes collecting what belongs to him, the tenants do some not so nice things- you know murder and stoning the collectors. Then the tenant sends his son and the response is the same- to kill him. This parable is about us as God’s children who often fail and miss the mark. Who have stopped listening and have stopped doing what God requires of them only to murder and stone those who say anything different. To hurt those who remind us that our lives and what they have, what we have, actually doesn’t belong to any of us, but rather to the one who gave it all to us.
Jesus tells this parable to the religious folks of his time who are trying to entrap him and put an end to his ministry and his ability to reach the people whom are supposed to belong to the Pharisees. The question for us is whether or not we are the selfish tenant who refuse to pay their dues even if it means they will kill someone. Or are we the ones who will produce the fruits of the kingdom? The question before us today is the same as it was for the Pharisees. Do we give back and care for what is God’s or do we ignore every call, every verse, every scripture, every Gospel, or every call to be the disciples of Christ who recognize nothing is ours, we are managers or stewards, and we make an offering to God, knowing that no matter what we give, it is only a portion of what God has blessed us with in our lives.
If we read this Gospel and see everything that God has given to us, then our response, of giving back to God what belongs to God, seems so insignificant. So how are we tending to what God has entrusted to us to produce the best possible yield? Meaning, how do we work with God who has already created everything and continues to create to bring the Kingdom of God here now. How do we live as the disciples of God who know and believe that God has given us everything and we respond by giving back; by giving of our time, our talents, and our treasure.
Well, we all know how we live. We too often don’t believe we have anything worthwhile to bring to the harvest. We don’t think we have the skills, gifts, talents, resources, or abilities to produce anything. To help bring the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, the peace, comfort, mercy, grace, and love that God calls us to bring to as disciples of Christ. We have been told that we are not good enough for so long that we have started to buy into it. And because we have forgotten that not only are we capable, good enough (or whatever that actually means to us), loved beyond measure, and talented beyond anything we could imagine; we have started to buy into everything else from the world. We have stopped living for God and have started living for the world.
So that when God tells us or calls us to a particular place, when we hear that nothing we have is actually ours, then we become a little bit more like those tenants who will do anything to stop it. Who will do anything to change the story, because we don’t want to believe for a moment that we cannot be in charge of anything. Or that the hours we have put in at our job, are why we have the money we do. We hear it all the time. People calling things “mine” or “ours.” Saying that we have and own are things that we worked for and that we bought with our money and when it is our money we don’t have to share, we don’t have to give an offering as a thank you for trusting us with it. The world would tell us to work this way. That what we have is ours. After all, if we can say that it is ours it is a lot easier for the world to tell us how to spend it and what to do with it. And the world has many opinions for what we should do with it.
But God tells us something different. To not build up storehouses, but rather to share. To give and give abundantly. To give not just of our treasure, but also of our time and of our talent. Meaning, we have much to give, we just need to start believing and trusting that we indeed are able to give, have the resources to give of our whole selves. There is much work to do in the vineyard, in the world, and we have the ability to do it. We have the ability to help others, to be God’s hands and feet in the world, to be the disciples of Christ who we confess to be. God tells us to not live for the world, but rather to live for God. And this changes us, it means we live differently in the world today. We stop thinking we cannot and instead trust that we can and so we do. Instead, we work alongside God in the world to bring the Word of God to the hurting and broken world. We share the abundance we have been blessed with by giving thanks, by giving back, by giving of our whole selves to the one who has given us everything. So go and be generous by giving thanks to God for everything God has blessed us with in our lives, in our community, and in our world knowing, trusting, and believing that true freedom is found in God alone and not stuff or in the world. Amen.

Pastor Katie has served St. Paul Hametown since July 2012. She is a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg with a Masters of Divinity and a concentration in Theology and Public Life. She is married with three children.

No comments yet

Add comment