Evangelectionary for Sunday August 28, 2016

Texts: Jeremiah 2:3-13 and Psalm 81:1, 10-16 or Proverbs 25:6-7 and Psalm 112; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1, 7-14.
Message: “What to Die For and What to Live For”
The scriptures do not only leave us with a warning, but they also provide for us a better way. “There is great gain in godliness with contentment,” Paul says to Timothy, “for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” In his letter to the Philippians Paul says, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.” And, in our reading this morning from Hebrews, “Keep life free from the love of money and content with what you have.”
In our spending we should ask ourselves: Why do I want this thing? Who is influencing me to purchase this and what is their motivation? Do I really need this? As those who trust in God for their everyday needs, we need to practice a sense of “detachment” from all of the advertising coming at us telling us that we need this or that.
We can cultivate contentedness by remembering and recognizing our accountability to God. Someday we shall all stand before God to give account of ourselves, including the use of our money and the things that money buys. I wonder what the “look back” will be like in that moment of accountability. The writer of Hebrews reminds us all: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God”
Jesus never condemned money or material things themselves. But when love and desire and passion for these things become the sole purpose for living, the consuming reason for being, then it is time to re-evaluate. A person totally preoccupied with this pursuit ignores the needs of his/her soul, for life is, as Jesus said, “more than these things.” (BGL)
When I was in seminary we visited the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia several times. Here the monks took vows of poverty and they gave away everything that they had in this world when they “signed up.” They were issued a very coarse garment and a rope belt, and I remember viewing the little cells with the straw beds in which they slept. All that they possessed was their prayer book and a pencil. That kind of life isn’t for everyone, but it stands for me as a constant reminder that life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Our family recently had opportunity to tour “The Biltmore” in Asheville, North Carolina, home of Cornelius Vanderbilt’s grandson. Built in 1895 its proportions are incredible and the indoor swimming pool, servants quarters, bowling alley, library, banquet hall, numerous bedrooms and bathrooms, etc., testify to just how much money can buy. God understands and provides for us for our daily needs. Before my grandfather died I asked him why he came to America. He replied that in 1907 there was no work for him in Amsterdam, but here in America he found work @ Pullman factory on Chicago’s south side. Later he repaired chimneys as his own business. God knows we need to make a living.

“This is my Father’s World,” “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” “My Faith Looks Up to Thee,” Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us”

Opening Prayer
We ask, Lord, for a pure heart, that we may see you; a humble heart that we may hear
you; a loving heart that we may serve you; and a heart of faith that we may abide in
you. –Adapted from a prayer by Dag Hammarskjold (1905—61)

Prayer of Confession
We pray that we may see our own faults with the same clarity that we see the faults of
others. We pray that we may strive for the same kindness that we wish from others.
We pray for the same integrity in ourselves that we expect from others. We pray for the
same loyalty from ourselves that we hope for in others. We pray for the same humility
in ourselves that we treasure in others. We pray for the same fairness in ourselves that
we anticipate from others.

Words of Assurance
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are
new every morning. –Lamentations 3:22-23

O Lord, following the example of our example, Jesus, we wish to become imitators of our Lord.
As he fed the hungry on the hillside, we wish to aid those who are less fortunate than we are.
As Jesus took the children on his knee, we wish to care for children who need our help. As Jesus
accepted the out5casts of his society, we wish to treat with dignity those who are rejected by
others. As Jesus drove the moneychangers from the Temple, we wish to oppose those who use
religion for personal gain. As Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice for many, we wish to sacrifice
our time, our resources, and even o0ur personal safety for the cause of Christ and His loving rule
on earth. Amen

Offertory Sentence

As we give, we recognize that it is through your power and grace that we have been provided
for. May we thus share those gifts with good causes here and around the world.

Offertory Prayer
O God, remind us this morning that to whom much is given, much is required. Amen.

In temptation, be strong. In conflict, have courage. In success, be humble.


(Prayers and other worship items courtesy of Leroy Koopman @ Liturgical Publications. Subscribers are
permitted to reprint material in non-profit publications only; all other reproduction is prohibited. 2013
Liturgical Publications Inc, LPi Resource Center, P.O. Box 510817, New Berlin, WE 53151-0817, 1-800-
950-9952 ext. 2469)

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