Stewardship sunday is always a tough one. One of the toughest things is that the minister is asking for support which in a small congregation often primarily goes to his salary. (Many people/minister might disagree with that statement, but practically they are fooling themselves. Stewardship is almost always heard as a gage of confidence in the current leadership.) The second thing is that the Word on money is actually pretty clear…and most households aren’t there. In fact most households, unlike say being good to your neighbor, might take issue with the Word on this. In a stewardship sermon there is a Scylla and Charybdis. On the one side you can just plain create guilt without pointing at the gospel. On the other side is a large amount of false hope – both the prosperity gospel kind and the no 3rd use of the law kind. The temptation to not be faithful, but to just steer toward a nice easy sermon is tremendous.
I’m glad to say I saw some grins and chuckles – a good sign for cheerful giving. In this sermon I gave the stewardship sermon I always wanted to hear. I hope it was honest and at the core cheerful.
I do owe a big debt in this serman to a Lutheran minister from Seattle. Here and especially here are a couple of sermons that helped me think through this sermon. I debated attributing them in the sermon itself, but I decided against it. Ultimately, while they helped me a great deal, the words interpreting the Word were mine. If this was a school paper footnotes would be required, but oral delivery is all or nothing. And he also went to many places I just didn’t. That is the great thing about the website. I can add a footnote where required.