We have asked the question of what we should be doing now as we prepare for the fall stewardship programs in many of our congregations. The suggestion today is not to wait until the "stewardship sermon" on Commitment Sunday to talk about our relationship to money and possessions.
Glenn Taibl, Co-Director
Center for Stewardship Leaders
Lectionary ties to Year-Round Stewardship
By Glenn Taibl
There were a number of times in past newsletters when Chick Lane encouraged us to talk about money when we weren't asking for money. This is sage advice. As we move toward fall and examining financial stewardship many of our congregations should be well advised to take a look at the opportunities to talk about money in a biblical and helpful way. One of the helpful insights is that scripture does not provide a guide for raising dollars to support a budget. Scripture and, in particular, Jesus, is very interested in the relationship we have with our possessions. Financial stewardship is about managing our possessions and our money with Christ at the center.
The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) provides a number of opportunities between now and the end of November to help us in focusing on the relationship of possessions to faith practice. We serve our members well in letting the word shape us in our stewardship.
*July 13: Isaiah 55 and the Parable of the Sower are stewardship texts that speak of the power of the Word to transform and to produce a harvest of abundance. Focus on the relationship of the sower to the seed to the planting. What happens when we live our lives in such a way that God can send us?
*July 27: Matthew 13 produces an abundance of parables about treasure, multiplication, kingdom presence that is at the heart of stewardship. The abundance is already present and when we see it for what it is ... it has the power to transform our lives.
*August 3: Matthew 14: 13-21: The Multiplication of the loaves and fish introduces us to Christ's abundance in the midst of scarcity where transformation invites us to manage all of life trusting in God's abundance. The abundance is a sign of the Kingdom of God ... everyone had their fill with some leftover.
*August 24: Romans 12: 1-8: I have claimed this text as my "stewardship text" when preaching for Consecration Sunday. Paul embraces body, mind and spirit as being transformed and not conformed to this world....as you discern what is the will of God. Paul is calling us to live with Christ at the center of life and this is the ultimate stewardship invitation.
*September 14: Matthew 18:21-35: The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant speaks to the conversation of our relationship to our possessions. How does this parable help to shape the conversation of stewardship as living life with Christ at the center of all our relationships?
*September 21: Matthew 20:1-16: Laborers in the Vineyard discover that meritocracy may not work as a sign of the Kingdom even when it comes to the rules of economics. When the last are first our notions of stewardship will be open to rethinking.
*October 19: Matthew 22:15-22: Whose image is on the coin? The conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees is a wonderful text in probing a definition of stewardship as managing all of life with Christ at the center.
*November 16: Matthew 25:14-30: The Parable of the Talents is truly about our relationship to our financial possessions with an eye on three T's of stewardship: Thanksgiving, Trust and Transformation.
There are many opportunities to shape the conversation about financial stewardship as you work with these texts. One last thing: please don't forget to use the word "stewardship" in your proclaiming and in your conversation. It will be refreshing to the listeners to hear the word when it isn't connected to the annual fund appeal.
Glenn Taibl is the is Co-Director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders at Luther Seminary and was previously the interim pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa, Minn.
Image credit: © Ignacio García Losa (ignaciogarcialosa.com) via Flickr. Used by permission.