November 13, 2018

About United Congregational

Come to the About Us section to find out what we're all about!

Join Us!

If you're curious about what a truly nurturing community of believers is like, then you should come to the Join Us section to find out how you can get involved.

What is UCC?

Find out about the United Church of Christ and the history of this wonderful organization on our What is UCC page.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This months Website is 

sponsored by

Gregg & Deb Griewski

In Memory of

Sam & Verna Goetz

 

If you would like to sponsor a month

contact the office.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

November 2018
S M T W T F S
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 1

Members Login



Thanksgiving Baskets

The Youth Group is collecting Thanksgiving Day items for baskets. Please bring your donations to the church. There will be a box to place the items, in the Narthex.

Last week's Sermon

November 11, 2018

 

 

Mark 12:38-44

“Two small copper coins”

Today is stewardship Sunday.  Today is the one Sunday a year that the lectionary calendar, not only gives me permission to, but encourages me as a pastor to talk about everyone’s favorite subject to talk about in the church …money.  I might be imagining thinks but I think a just heard a collective reluctant groan.  Many of you are probably metaphorically wanting to put your fingers in your ears and go …la, la, la.  But today, with it being stewardship Sunday and our scripture has Jesus talking about money, I get to give you my two cents worth on money.  With the value of two pennies, that is not saying much.  In fact, if you have a penny minted before 1982 the copper in it is worth more than the penny.  Even with no copper in a penny it still costs the government 1.7 cents to make a penny.  It cost more to make it than it is worth. 


Today we have Jesus doing a little people watching.  Most of us have done that at one time or another.  It’s kind of like sitting in the center court of the mall and watch people as they go by …seeing what people are buying …what they are wearing …who they are shopping with …watching young families dragging young screaming kids, thinking, “Oh I can relate to that and I’m glad that’s not me.”  You know, just watching people, seeing what people are buying, or wearing, or who they are with and what that might say about them. 


That is what Jesus was doing.  He was people watching and he was watching people put money into the treasury.  The treasury was a wood or metal box or receptacle of some kind that people would put in their temple tax or donations to fund the temple and its activities.  Today we call it an offering plate.  Anyway, Jesus is watching these people putting money into this treasury container and he is noticing many rich people put in large sums of money.  Jesus also notices that in amongst the wealthy people putting in large sums of money comes a little old widow lady who drops in two small copper coins. 


Two small copper coins …that’s it.  That’s all.  Our scripture says that that copper coin is worth less than a penny.  For what our penny is worth today that is hard to imagine, but you get the point.  It was the form of currency with the least value in the time of Jesus.  Two small copper coins …that won’t go very far in the upkeep and maintenance of the temple.  That won’t pay much of the rabbi’s salary, much less the janitor’s salary.  Two small copper coins will not do much to ease the budget woes. 


Most of us have heard the phrase, “money talks.”  The phrase is usually used when someone wants a special favor from someone else but it is going to cost them something.  It is usually the people with the most money who seem to have the advantage of talking the loudest, being noticed the most, and getting what they want.  As Jesus was watching people dropping contributions into the treasury, the money was talking and it was saying quite a bit about those who were contributing.  In the case of the people who were dropping in large sums of money, the money was saying, “Look at me.  I am wealthy.  You should notice me and appreciate all that I am giving.  I am self-centered and arrogant.  I have money to give and I still have money to burn.” 


In contrast, the two small copper coins were saying something much different.  They were saying, “We are simple and we are humble.  Most people do not notice us.  Most people do not think we have much value.  We cannot do much, but we are all we have.  To some people, we are all they have.  To them, we are their livelihood.  When we are given away, we are given in respect.  We are given out of love and gratitude for what God has given us.  We are given in the trust that God will continue to provide for us.  We have given our all out of love, gratitude, and faith.”  To God those two small coins were worth far more than their monetary value. 


Money talks.  The question is, “What is money saying to us and about us?”  Money is not the issue.  Money is an inanimate object.  As the lyrics of an old Neil Diamond song goes.  “Money talks, but it can’t sing or dance and it can’t walk.”  Money is an inanimate object.  Money is neither good nor bad.  The issue is or the problem arises with our relationship to money.  It does not matter if we are rich or poor.  Wealth can make us self-centered and self-reliant, forgetting our need for God.  Poverty can drive us to worry and anxiety, making the desire for money all-consuming, robbing us both of faith and generosity.  Are we controlling money or is money controlling us?  Is our desire for money shaping not only our relationship with money, but also our relationship with others and how we view the world? 


What is money saying to us?  Money can call us in such a way that it becomes all consuming.  Our desire is to make and acquire a little more and a little more.  There is a farmer/rancher back home whose goal was to own the land next to his.  I’ll pause here while that soaks in a little.  He also wanted to become wealthy enough that he could retire at the age of 45.  It really did not matter to him how he acquired that wealth, which neighbor he might take advantage of, or how he used or misused the systems of the government or insurance companies.  This gentleman is now nearing 70 and he is still at it.  One more was never enough.  He has passed the same attitude on to his son. 


On the other hand, is our money saying to us, “I am a gift from God.”  Our ability to work and our talents are God-given gifts.  The very breath we take is a gift from God.  Life itself is a gift from God.  All that we have and all that we are, (which includes our financial and material resources), are gifts from God. 


Our relationship to our God given financial and material resources tell a lot about us and who we are.  When we give of ourselves and our financial resources, we are demonstrating our willingness to share the blessings and the gifts which God has given us.  We are expressing our love for God and our gratitude for all that God has done for us.  We are demonstrating our faith that God will continue to care for us even as we risk giving and caring for others. 


Two small copper coins …they aren’t much and they do not have much financial value.  But when they are all we have and are given in the faith, love, and gratitude to God for the work of the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ, they have more value than the millions given by all of the philanthropists together.  When it comes to giving back to God, it is not the financial value that is important, but rather how much of ourselves and our resources we are willing to give and to risk.  The widow gave her last two copper coins …her livelihood, all that she had to live on.  Jesus gave his life.  Amen.