Friday, August 20, 2010

September 5 Sermon - Part Two

Here's my translation of the gospel text, Luke 14:25-33:

25 But many crowds were going with him, and he, turning, said to them, 26 "If someone comes to me and he does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and even his own soul, he is not able to be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me is not able to be my disciple. 28 Indeed, who of you all, wanting to build a tower, does not first sit to count the cost, [to see] if he has [enough] to finish? 29 So that, lest he puts down a foundation and is not able to finish, all those seeing [it] might begin to mock him, 30 saying that this is the person who began to build and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to another king to meet for war, does not first sit to take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet the one coming to him with twenty thousand. 32 But if not, surely [when] he is still far away, he will send an ambassador to ask him for peace. 33 So therefore, all of you who do not say goodbye to all his own possessions is not able to be my disciple.

When I was translating, I wondered what connection there might be between verse 26 and verse 33. Are we to understand "possessions" as being the same as the family relationships of verse 26? On the other hand, these might be separate sayings of Jesus that Luke has strung together on the general theme of loyalty to Jesus.

My plan is to take a stewardship focus for this sermon. I've been thinking lately about the reasons we might do stewardship - to balance the church budget, to support the ministry of the congregation, or to support the ministry of the wider church. Those are the reasons I've been hearing at my internship site, and there's nothing wrong with any of them. However, I haven't heard any talk about the personal reasons for stewardship. To put it another way, stewardship might be a spiritual discipline, a way of practicing and developing one's own faith. It's not something we have to do to earn God's favor - but it's something we can and should do, in the same way that we can and should pray, or read the Bible. That's the message I want to communicate in my sermon. Giving up prepares us to be disciples, or to be better disciples.

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