Nov. 17 - 23, 2008

 SOLI/Update

    archive.stewardshipoflife.org


Enough is enough

The financial crisis is causing many people to reassess their relationship to money. 

It's a devastatingly painful lesson for millions who have lost their job, their house or their financial security. And economists tell us the worst is still ahead of us.  For those of us who still are fortunate enough to have jobs, houses, some economic security, the crisis has been sobering, to say the least.

Though the crisis has many complex causes, the basic cause was greed. No question. Greed of lenders who offered mortgages to people they knew could not afford to pay them; greed of the ones who signed the mortgage papers expecting that the housing boom would last forever; greed by the Wall Street brokers who turned those mortgages into complex investments that bypassed regulations; greed by politicians who pushed deregulation on behalf of contributors.  

Greed results when money becomes the sovereign of a person's life. Do you know of such people? Might one or two be in your congregation? Might you be one of them? Look for these signs:

--Despite a decent income, you are broke all the time. Your money goes to support a lifestyle that is at the very edge of your ability to pay for it.
--Despite your good job, your credit cards are maxed out and you can't seem to pay them down. You are addicted to spending beyond your means.
--Despite earning good money, and sometimes really really good money, you crave more. You obsess with the "next step up" in houses, cars, clothes, etc.

If any of these sound familiar, it's because they are epidemic in our culture. These are the natural results of the twin principles that run our consumer economy: Enough is never enough, and more is always better.

In other words, in our culture, the dollar is king. Money is our sovereign. Now that Wall Street is melting down from its own excess, it is laying bare what a despot money is as ruler. People are now questioning their relationship to money, and that provides an opening for our churches.

This Sunday we celebrate the Festival of Christ the King. Eschatologically, it remembers the time when Jesus will come again, as promised, to reign eternally as sovereign of all. In the midst of a financial crisis, when people are questioning their loyalty to the king dollar, what a good time to preach the truth. Enough is enough.

--Rob Blezard, Webmaster and Editor

Reprint rights gladly given to religious institutions for nonprofit, local use. Just include this note: "Copyright (c) 2008, Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission." All other uses please inquire at rcblezard@embarqmail.com.

  New This Week:

Mission Possible: Motivational Factors for Charitable Giving
Church ExecutiveOur church members today face an increasing number of savvy charitable organizations vying for their limited contribution dollars. Is your church being squeezed out? Providing keen insight into why people give to one charity over another, this article can help church leaders plan better. Click here for “Mission Possible: Motivational Factors for Charitable Giving, from Church Executive magazine.

Working with Younger, Affluent Donors
Philanthropy Journal“They aren't their parents or grandparents. When it comes to philanthropy, younger affluent individuals have a different outlook on charitable giving and different motivations for sharing their wealth with charitable causes.” Learn about how to reach this emerging demographic. Click here for “Working with Younger, Affluent Donors,” from Philanthropy Journal.


Sharron LucasSheep, Goats and Jesus in Disguise
The Gospel reading for the upcoming Christ the King Sunday presents us with lots of questions to ponder. "Just what kind of king are we serving anyway? Jesus surely doesn’t fit the monarch mold for the Western world. In fact, he doesn’t fit the CEO mold, the CFO mold, or any other kind of mold." Click here for "Sheep, Goats and Jesus in Disguise," the latest essay by SOLI columnist Sharron Reissinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.


In Hard Economic Times, Church Must Proclaim Justice, Good Stewardship
United Church of Christ“God has not abandoned the people or the church in this time of national economic crisis,” begins this prophetic essay. “The presence of God calls us not only to comfort, however, but also to confront the forces that have driven our country into this economic ditch.” Read this! Click here for “In Hard Economic Times …,” from The United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries.


Thanksgiving Sermons
Thanksgiving Sermons
Don’t preach a turkey Thanksgiving (sorry, couldn’t resist). Gratitude is a key component of generosity, so Thanksgiving offers a stewardship preaching opportunity. For your inspiration, here are some good Thanksgiving sermons, based on Luke 17:11-19, from around the web.
Click here for “A Heart of Faith is a Heart of Thanks,” preached by the Rev. Don Hougard of Benediction Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, Wis.
Click here for “Four Steps to Thanksgiving,” preached by the Rev. Thomas F. Fischer, editor of Ministry Health Sermon Starters.
Click here for “Recovery of Gratitude,” preached by the Rev. Mary Alice Haynie of Southport Presbyterian Church, Southport, N.C.