Faith in Surplus

8/28/2022

Message Title: Faith in Surplus
Theme: Faith
Season: Ordinary Time
Main Text: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Scripture Reading: Luke 14:1, 7-14
RCL Scripture: Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1, 10-16; Sirach 10:12-18 or Proverbs 25:6-7; Psalm 112; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14
Focus: Faith requires hospitality with genuine motivations.
Function:
To celebrate our blessings and surplus without holding onto them like a security blanket. Rather use our blessings to bless others. 

Other Notes: faith practiced in life- chairs, traffic, supply chains, utilities, politicians, fencing, Banks

SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 14:1, 7-14 14 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to share a meal in the home of one of the leaders of the Pharisees, they were watching him closely….When Jesus noticed how the guests sought out the best seats at the table, he told them a parable. “When someone invites you to a wedding celebration, don’t take your seat in the place of honor. Someone more highly regarded than you could have been invited by your host. The host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give your seat to this other person.’ Embarrassed, you will take your seat in the least important place. 10 Instead, when you receive an invitation, go and sit in the least important place. When your host approaches you, he will say, ‘Friend, move up here to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.” 12 Then Jesus said to the person who had invited him, “When you host a lunch or dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers and sisters, your relatives, or rich neighbors. If you do, they will invite you in return and that will be your reward. 13 Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. 14 And you will be blessed because they can’t repay you. Instead, you will be repaid when the just are resurrected.”

FAITH IN LIFE: Faith in banks

  1. TRUST IN BANKS
  2. AUDIENCE ENGAGMENT: Who has distinct memories of a Great Depression parent or grandparent? AKA “The Greatest Generation” (at the time Adults) or Silent Generation (at the time kids)
    1. I have two distinct memories. First, I’ll share about my dad’s maternal grandparents- My Great Grandparents Ora & Miller had a major distrust for banks. They stored up all their money in places in their home. When we would come to visit, Grandpa Miller would whip out $20 bills from no where and send us to the store to pick up cokes. When they passed away, my grandparents discovered nearly $250k in $20 bills stashed places; all because of their lack of trust in banks.
  3. The Greatest Generation experienced horrors that no human should have to suffer. World War II and The Great Depression were big burdens to carry. I think my generation is still impacted by the ripple effects of our great grandparents. Some individuals have a lack of trust in establishments while others want to reform the establishments.

TRANSITION:  People may not like to admit it but money can change you. Going hungry can change you. Having an excess of money can change you. Last week we talked about releasing control of the Gospel to be hospitable; this week we continue the hospitality conversation with a discussion of famine and surplus.

MAIN TEXT: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 Keep loving each other like family. Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing itRemember prisoners as if you were in prison with them, and people who are mistreated as if you were in their place. Marriage must be honored in every respect, with no cheating on the relationship, because God will judge the sexually immoral person and the person who commits adultery. Your way of life should be free from the love of money, and you should be content with what you have. After all, he has said, I will never leave you or abandon youThis is why we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper, and I won’t be afraid. What can people do to me? Remember your leaders who spoke God’s word to you. Imitate their faith as you consider the way their lives turned out. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!… 15 So let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through him, which is the fruit from our lips that confess his name. 16 Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.

EXPLAINATION:

  1. Gospel: In Ch 13, Jesus had healed a woman on the Sabbath. Time has passed and we’re on another Sabbath. It’s been a week since then and Jesus is once again healing on the Sabbath. Scandalous! He then emphasized the motivations of the people listening by discussing a wedding.
    1. Wedding feast, guests, & important seats.
    1. Instructions to not invite people over that can repay you.
    1. Invite the people who will never be able to repay you the kindness. (discussion of reward)
  2. Hebrews: The author of Hebrews wraps up their letter by talking about worship through hospitality and sacrifice. … but not animal sacrifice.
    1. Love like family
    1. Open your home (comments on marriage and leaders)
    1. Your way of life should be free from the love of money
    1. Do good and share what you have

INTERPRETATION:  Faith requires hospitality with genuine motivations.

  1. How to interact with the world
  2. NO STRINGS ATTACHED: Don’t cater to people because you think you’ll receive a return invitation or clout.
    1. ENTERTAINMENT: The good place show (disclaimer)– doing good for others tainted by desire to get into the good place. Their motivation isn’t good after all.
  3. ACT OF WORSHIP: Hospitality is worship and holy sacrifice.
    1. One of the most catastrophic events for a church is receiving a large gift of money. People will fight over how to use it, motivations and pride will get entangled. It is a surefire mess.
    1. My childhood church got out of debt through the sale of some land, over time the church split over how to use the equity. Some wanted to use it on themselves while others wanted to use it on their community. Their motivations were on two completely different fields and couldn’t play together.
    1. Blessing to bless others

APPLICATION: To celebrate our blessings and surplus without holding onto them like a security blanket. Rather use our blessings to bless others. 

  1. WEIGHT OF WEALTH: Both Jesus and the author of Hebrews wants us to be hospitable and not crippled by wealth, possessions, power, or pride.
    1. It’s easy for us to talk about the virtue of being poor. You learn the value of a dollar when you struggle. You cherish the little things when you go without. You appreciate every morsel when you’re hungry.
    1. We use poverty as a virtue that we don’t want to deprive someone from as if it is the only pathway to character development. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, like I did, and you’ll be more grateful than if I were to simply help you.
      1. Problem of “handout = no grit”
  2. OUR SECURITY BLANKET: rarely do we talk about the burden of having excess. The risk of sitting in surplus is we get greedy and choosy about when to let go of our excess. We want to see evidence that we should buy in—like investors on Shark Tank. Or bless others
    1. Churches hesitate to justify the budget for outreach ministry if it doesn’t lead to people coming to church or donations received.
      1. Hear me, Churches, don’t do VBS or missional outreach if all you want is butts in pews. Just actually love your neighbor, without any hope of filling the church on a Sunday morning.
  3. Last week we let go of control & let go of results in order to allow the Gospel to do it’s work
    1. Love until our death
    1. Bleed dry serving others
  4. “Happy Dollar” is the perfect example of letting our blessings bless others. We let go of our excess in an act of worship and gratitude to God with the intention of blessing others.
    1. Township in South Africa- joy with dirt floors and cardboard walls
    1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: How could we utilize the concept of Happy Dollars in our daily lives?
      1. Your home, time, talents
      1. Bless our home to bless others

CONCLUSION: The Greatest Generation was not perfect. Their beliefs that children should be seen and not heard led to the Silent Generation’s struggles. HOWEVER, the Greatest Generation was resourceful in getting by with very little. Surviving on little and hospitality demonstrated without excess. They survived The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl, and World War II.  

What if we started a trend of living off the minimum and blessing others with our excess?

What if we trained ourselves to give joyfully without worrying about return?

Last week, we let go of our legalism to open doors of hospitality. Now, we can release our security blankets, our self-preservation kit, and bless others. Whether you have surplus or are barely scraping by, God can use you. Our faith isn’t in what we have stored up in our bank accounts. Our faith is stored up in the One Who Gives Life to All.

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