2019-11-17 “Stewardship”

Sermon for Stewardship Sunday

“For God All things Are Possible”

Matthew 19:16-26

Rev. Elizabeth Aguilar

Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista, UCC


Isaiah 43:19- “I am about to do a new thing now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Friends, today is the culmination of a month- of Stewardship focus. You’ve heard from Rev. Victoria, Ruth Jones, and myself, preach about various teachings of Jesus about money and giving. It has been mentioned that money was the topic that Jesus spoke about the most. It has been reminded to us that placing our trust in God to provide for all things including our every day needs allows us the space to trust God with our money. Ruth reminded us that indeed where we have our treasure there is our heart.

Today’s scripture reading is a very well-known story of Jesus with a young rich man. I chose it b/c I have always found it to be a challenge. And b/c I’m a sucker for challenges…! Here we are!

The part that always stumped me was that this rich young man had already done many things that the Jewish law would have required of him, as a good Jewish man.  I imagine that when Jesus lists all the things that is required and the young man is saying, “yup, been there done that”, that if I were him, I would have felt quite proud of myself. After all, some of us like lists that we can check off. Don’t we?

But Jesus knew that this young man needed to be challenged further and so he says, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow me.”

You see Jesus knew that the young man hadn’t actually put his faith in God first. He knew that the young man had been approaching his faith as a series of litmus tests that he had to pass. Not as a way of life.

Jesus reminds us this morning that putting Him first pays off.

We read also that it wasn’t just the young man who was perplexed about possessions and priorities… In fact, Jesus went on to say that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples go to Jesus with a follow- up challenge, (whether out of dismay or out of wanting to understand) and say, “Then who can be saved?” And then Jesus famously answers, “for mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

And you see, friends, there is the good news. Jesus wasn’t in the business of discouraging people. He was in the business of Encouraging people, instead!

He is saying, do what you can. Try to put me first and when you feel it is impossible, let God take care of it.

We are people of faith. And 129 years ago, this church was founded when a group of Christians wanted to have a place of worship. It seems to me that they certainly had their priorities straight.

We’ve just heard the names of those who have been members here for 50 years OR MORE! They certainly knew where to put their priorities, as well.

This morning, we are reminded that when we put Christ first, all things come into right order.

This does not mean that all of our angst goes away. All of our questions about life and death, about relationships, and our crazy world all go away. No, the questions remain. The struggles remain as well.

However, what ALSO remains is Christ’s presence with us. We are NOT in this ministry work alone. We are Not in the thing called life, alone, either.

Christ walks with us, encourages us even now, reminds us of our priorities, reminds us of HIS love and then calls us to still follow him.

The theme for this month’s stewardship campaign was Isaiah 43:19- “I  am about to do a new thing now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” The prophet Isaiah was encouraging the people who were held in captivity in Babylon, away from their home land, that God WOULD make a way for them.

As we move forward into our 130th year of existence here in Chula Vista, God tell us that God will make a way for us. God is still active and alive. God is still reminding us to put God first. God is still lovingly challenging us to follow Him b/c indeed it is worth it.

This morning, as we are about to collect out offering and then place our pledge cards into the basket. May it be done as an act of faith. If you are giving for the first time- then God bless you. If you have increased the amount of giving, God bless you. If you have decided that you want to serve and re-commit yourself then God bless you.

God is and wants to do a “new thing” here, through you and me. Not just in this sanctuary and in the various rooms of our lovely church, but in our lives and in our homes and in all the places we find ourselves. Because we are modern day disciples, we are called to serve and service includes giving!

May we give joyfully this morning as an act of faith. May we be reminded that God DOES make ALL things new and that indeed what we may think is impossible, isn’t for God!

Let us stand on these promises and as a way of giving God thanks for being a God who comes through on His promises let us respond to God generously. Amen.