Homily: October 23, 2016

October 23, 2016, YEAR C; Rev. Phil Boelter “In our first reading this morning

Sirach says:

Give to the Most High as he has given to you,

and as generously as you can afford.

For the Lord is the one who repays,

and he will repay you sevenfold.”

Who the heck IS Sirach anyway?

We know a few things.

He lived the century before Jesus.

He was a Jewish leader.

AND he was in charge of a school in Jerusalem

Which had been established to educate rich young Jewish men

in how to live well

in the place where Jewish and Roman society intersected.

I feel sorry for Sirach already-

trying as he probably did

to educate,

ride herd on,

and otherwise reign in

a gang of well to do teenage boys.

These teens probably ran around in hot rod chariots

entertaining young women in togas

and waiving their no credit limit American Express cards in the air.

They were probably - in a word- spoiled!

But these same young men were also destined

to become the middle managers in Israel.

They worked for Roman overlords-

And they in turn managed or ruled the people of Israel.

I'm not sure about this-

but I suspect Sirach would look at our pointy haired boss

in the Dilbert cartoon

And see an aged out version of his average students.

A little self-absorbed-

not too bright-

And always looking for number one!

Along comes Sirach

telling these young folk

to give, give, give.

Sirach explains

you can't outgive God.

Every shekel or dollar or every hour of your time

you give to others in order to help them

will come rolling back to you seven fold.

One dollar becomes seven.

One hour becomes seven.

That's a better return than any savings account, mutual fund,

stock, junk bond or the latest get rich quick scheme.

I'll bet Sirach got their attention with that one...

But how can that be true?

Wouldn't believers in God

then be the richest and most leisurely folk around?

But to me the opposite appears true.

Based on my own experience

I believe that on average most Church folk

are less rich and far busier than many others.

Over the years I myself

have worked a variety of full time jobs

as a night auditor,

production planner,

Lutheran pastor,


financial consultant

and now

last but not least,

Episcopal priest.

Yet, none if those professional roles

has given me as much purpose joy, fulfillment as simple volunteering.


It has been time consuming

Sometimes tiring,

occasionally frustrating

but the joy of volunteering and helping others remains.

The people of old who heard Sirach's demand-

Give, give, give!

In their role as leaders in their Israelite society

They were stewards or managers of their time.



followers of Jesus’ way,

members and friends of Gethsemane,

and even others who aren't a part of our community

we are asked to be good stewards or managers of our time.

Sirach and Jesus both urge us to make the wise investment of helping others.

Beginning next week

I am going to be asking each of you to commit-

or in many cases recommit-

to your volunteer roles here at Gethsemane.

If you haven't yet stepped forward to volunteer

For anything here at Gethsemane

Our Fall Ingathering will be the time to do so.

Your faith community needs you.

If you have been doing something around here for a few months-

A few years- or maybe a few decades-Ingathering is the time to say

"I recommit to this task or in most cases these tasks-

as many of us have worn multiple hats

around here

for multiple years.

You could also conceivably say

At this time

I want to do something else-

Something different than I’ve done before-

And its all good.

Take a look around-

Listen over the next month to what others are doing and sharing,

And make your investment-

Manage your time.

Those of you who have been soooo faithful

For soooo very long

Might want to say

“ I want to take a rest-

And do nothing at all.”

That’s ok too.

God is interested in managers who

Enjoy their work

And take care of themselves

As well as their time tasks and neighbors.

You and I have choices to make these next few weeks.

How will we invest your time-

As well as our treasure?

When you look at the Ingathering commitment cards

You received in the mail this week-

Or which you can get here at church next week.

You will see we are asking for two commitments-

On the left side- offertory/ monetary

We ll talk about thatsuide next week.

On the right side you will see time-


There are five categories listed-

1. Prayer - I hope you all will check that one off

2. Shelf of Hope- distributor on Wednesday, driver or unloader- other times- or just being here to be with our guests on Wednesday- and being friendly as they wait their turn

3. Sowing Seeds/ Youth - growth area- moving into middle school

4. Worship - as reader, choir member, server, chalice bearer

Finally- my favorite-

5. Other- please specify- __________________________________

If you don't see what you are doing or want to do here-

Write it in!

BTW- We ll also be having a new member celebration on Nov 13th

We want you newer folk not just to fit into our slots

but also to help Gethsemane broaden what we do here

by helping us begin to offer new gifts

new opportunities to be good stewards,

managers of our time-

In this way

We can take our time and talent

And be good stewards, good managers

And to help others.

“Give to the Most High as he has given to you,

and as generously as you can afford.

For the Lord is the one who repays,

and he will repay you sevenfold.”



SermonRev. Phil Boelter