November 17th (23rd Sunday After Pentecost): “Gifts Dedicated To God”- Stewardship Sunday
Main Text: Luke 21:5-19 (Malachi 4:1-2a; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13)
Sunday is the culmination of our Stewardship Season where we pledge and
dedicate our gifts to God for the coming year. Everyone is invited to step up
and approach God and then to step out in living out that commitment. The prophet
Malachi compares the fate of the created gifts and the gift of God. All of
those who have built their lives on those gifts will one day experience their
failure. Those, however, who dedicate themselves and their gifts to God will
experience healing that raises them up and carries them through. This letter to
the Thessalonians is addressing those who believed that the here and now did
not matter, and they began to not use their gifts in useful labor and life.
However, when we dedicate our gifts to God, we recognize God’s call to apply
all that we have and all that we are, to doing what is right. The Gospel
reading has Jesus addressing those impressed with the building. He reminds them
that this should not be the focus of our attention for all these things will
come and go. These things will not withstand the tribulation of this world.
Instead, God invites us to turn to him in times of struggle where he will
strengthen our witness and lead us through. It is a dangerous world and a
dangerous time to follow the ways of Christ in the world. Lord, increase our
faith that we may step up and step out!