Summary: Second in a series of four messages on Christian Stewardship. Based on UM congregatinal pledge and UM "Guidelines"

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Christian Stewardship Part 2

Mark 12:41-44 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-- all she had to live on."

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always. But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose. Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice. And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own. At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

- Let’s recap before we jump into this week’s thoughts.

- We’re talking about stewardship.

- We’re basing our discussion on the covenant pladge that we use to welcome new members and newly baptized persons.

- And on the attributes of a Christian steward from the United Methodist Guidelines.

- Last week we talked about a Christian Steward being prayerful, content, and trustworthy.

- Now, it’s my intention that these messages are a dialogue.

- Therefore, I’d like to hear how you thought about last week’s message.

- Tell me what it means for you to be prayerful and content and trustworthy.

- Did you look up the other Scriptures?

- What did they say to you?

- Am I off my nut?

- What did you think?

- (Allow for some interaction time)

- Well, this week we’re going to look at the next one of those assets that we pledge to the church, our presence.

- Now I’m not talking about presents, like the stuff you get on your birthday and Christmas.

- I’m talking about presence, being here.

- We pledge to uphold this church with our presence, our being here.

- gives the following words equal definition with presence:

- attendance, being, companionship, company, dormancy, existence, habitation, inhabitance, latency, occupation, omnipresence, potentiality, residence, subsistence, ubiquity, whereabouts

- The word that most often comes to mind for me is community.

- We are a community.

- When one member of the community suffers, we all suffer.

- When one rejoices, we’re all elated.

- And probably most importantly, when one member of the community is absent, the witness and the presence of the entire community is diminished.

There’s a very powerful illustration of community in the film “We Were Soldiers” with Mel Gibson.

- You can only find this on the DVD because it’s one of the deleted scenes.

- This deleted scene takes place back in the states at the protestant chapel on the base from which the 7th Infantry, First Division had been deployed to Vietnam.

- The scene depicts the families of the soldiers, who are in church days after their husbands have gone off to war.

- One of the young wives is introduced by the pastor, and is to sing the Offertory Hymn.

- She begins, tentatively, singing the opening words from "My Hope is Built."

- She soon falters, apologizes and begins again, but again falters and cannot continue.

- After a couple of seconds, you hear the sound of another woman singing, "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."

- It is the wife of the commander of the division, and soon the other wives, and then the entire congregation are singing.

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