Sermon:
In Jesus Holy Name February 10, 2008
Lent I Redeemer

“Stewardship: Managing the Things of God”
5th in the series: “God’s Economic Plan”

Our congregational mission statement is: “Connecting People to Jesus and To One Another.” Yesterday, 60 plus women attended our women’s luncheon. It was a wonderful event. Cindy Newkirk, the guest speaker shared stories from her life and her faith in Jesus Christ.

One of the key phrases I used in last weeks message was: “Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic. It is a process.” As Lutheran Christians we confess with Martin Luther in his definition to the 3rd article of the Apostle’s Creed: “I believe that I can not by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel….”

We are to be good managers of our time; Saturday was a good use of time. We know that we also need to develop friendships with and care for people “on their way” towards Jesus, but not there yet. We demonstrate God’s love all the while knowing that it is God’s Holy Spirit that convicts a person’s heart of their need for God.

Yesterday’s luncheon was an opportunity to connect women who are seeking spiritual truth to Jesus Christ. Connecting one’s heart to Jesus and developing new friends takes time. Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic. It is a process. You are a work in process. Our "outreach luncheons" are a work in process.

When you try to ripen fruit too quickly, it loses flavor. In America, tomatoes are usually picked green, unripened so they won’t bruise during the shipping to stores. Then before they are sold, these green tomatoes are gased with CO 2, they turn read and are edible, but they are no match for the flavor of vine ripened tomatoes that are allowed to mature slowly.

The fast food industry is a statement about our lives. We are a product of our culture. Our computers are faster every year. They hold more memory every year, and we are addicted to our I pods that hold a ca-trillion songs. What happens when problems arise in our lives? We want a sermon or a seminar to resolve all our problems and temptations in a short time. God is more interested in developing a Christ like character than providing us with instant gratification.

James writes: “Consider it pure joy, …when ever you face trials of many kinds….the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature…” (James 1:2) Paul wrote: “Our lives become brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” (II Cor. 3:18b)

Throughout this stewardship series I have made the point that God created each of us to be managers. We are to manage all that he has entrusted to our care. Our time. His written word, so that we can share “the Divine Plan”. We are to be good stewards of the earth. We are to use or gifts and