Stewardship One Sermon September 17th

Let us pray. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable unto you O Lord our rock and our redeemer. Amen.
This day is the start of something we haven’t tried in a long time. At least in a serious, concerted way. I have hinted at it and there may have been some small instances where we have come right out and said the word that no one really likes talking about in worship, unless we are promising people an abundance of money for them to take home or saying that we are raising funds for some sort of charity. But let’s face it. We all deal with money on a daily basis.
There are bills we pay, we go out to eat, clothing for children, fill our tank with gas give to a charity, and the list goes on and on. Every day we experience money. But there is one place generally most of us want to ignore the fact that we all deal with money in our daily lives and that is in church. And for many of us, we find ourselves insecure about our own finances. We don’t want people to know what we give or what we bring home. And then there are times we don’t want people to know that have credit or that we are barely making ends meet. There is fear in being honest with others about our financial situation and how much we give. If we are honest with others than they might judge us for what we have or don’t have. And let’s not even talk about what we are giving because we don’t want people to know. Sometimes we won’t even tell our or our children what we give and why and how we made it to that decision point.
Let’s face it most if not all of us come to money conversation with some baggage. And we also come to table with different experiences, beliefs, and understanding about money. So let me put this out on the table for everyone. This stewardship campaign might be a little more than you are ready for. It might push you to the extreme and beyond your comfort zone. You might really wonder how many Scripture verses actually talk about money (don’t worry it is only and how long I am going to talk about money. You might feel like we are asking you for money that you don’t have. There will be some points where we do ask for money. I am not going lie, a stewardship campaign generally has a few goals: help people in their own personal financial life and also to encourage people in their giving to the worshipping community so that the work of the congregation can continue to grow and be present with others in their faith life. So, will the stewardship and evangelism committee and the congregational council ask you to look at your giving Biblically and practically. Our plan also is to give you the tools to do so. And just a helpful note that I have found in my discipleship huddle is that we often have to go through the valley of the shadow of death before we come out to the other side and enter into the land of promise.
So now that we all acknowledge we all have concerns when it comes to money and that it is not the most pleasurable conversation for anyone, including those who are preaching. So let’s dive into today’s Gospel lesson where we see a little taste about stewardship and how we respond to one another. We see a slave who does not treat other people like he has been treated. A master who graciously forgives the debts of this slave only to hear later that this slave did not do the same begs the question to how we as children of God respond to others?
Do we expect some sort of grace and confidentiality and understanding when it comes to our decisions and our life style but not give it to others? Do we have the same faith in ourselves as we do in others? Do we give the same grace to others as we want to give to ourselves?
This Gospel passage lifts up debits and how we treat one another and how we engage with each other. It is a wonderful Gospel for us to use as we kick off our stewardship campaign when many of us are starting to feel uncomfortable, because it sets us up not for judgement of one another, but rather for grace. Grace to be honest and truthful. Grace to be present and supportive of one another. Grace to treat one another as Christ treats each one of us.
By treating one another this way, be giving grace to another in the difficult times and in the joyous times, we begin to model this for the kids here in our church family, we model it for those who have been burned by the church, and for those who are don’t think the church can be a place where people grant and give forgiveness to one another. And on the day we baptize Chase, and we make promises to him, to support him in his faith journey and to support Mark and Connie as they raise Chase in his faith life. What a great passage to read, to remind ourselves that we as the church are called to be different. To treat one another different in this world and in our life together.
So let’s treat one another with a little more grace and mercy. With the same amount of grace and mercy that we expect for ourselves. Let us give that same grace and mercy freely to one another this day and always.
Let us pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you for this day as we welcome Chase into your family. Strengthen us as a family of faith that we may treat one another with an abundance of grace and mercy. Help us as well that we may give that same grace and mercy to ourselves. 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.

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