Contact us LOGIN
Gathering service Banner
Worship and Sermons
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

November 2022


November 20, 2020  "Who Is This Jesus?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 13, 2022  "Steady Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2022


October 30, 2022  "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 3: Relationship Redeemers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 23, 2022 "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 2: Generous Givers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 16, 2022   "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 1: Covenant Connectors" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2, 2022,  "Keeping the Flame Burning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2022


September 18, 2022,  "Mammon, Part I:  The Way of Righteousness" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2022


August 28, 2022   "Why Do We Sing?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 7, 2022 "The Essence of Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2022


July 24, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 4: The Judge Who Shows Mercy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 17, 2022  "God's Goodness, Part 3: The Covenant Partner Who Blesses" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 10, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 2: The Law-giver Who Prospers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2022


June 19, 2022 "Words from the Wise: Gamaliel" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

October 23, 2022

“Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 2:  Generous Givers” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, October 23, 2022  -  Year C / 20th Sunday after Pentecost – Psalm 65  •  Sirach 35:1-13

THEME:  Use your time and talent, as well as your tithe, for God’s purposes.

 

When I was 17 and applying to college, I somehow got it into my head that I should be a chemistry major.  And that’s how my collegiate academic career commenced at the University of Delaware.  

But within the very first semester, it became clear that science was not my future.  And so, my long journey toward graduation as an English major got underway.

But I never lost my love of science.  Physics, in particular, has always fascinated me.  I suppose that’s because my father was a physicist.  From time to time, I still dip into what’s happening in the field of physics.  And this week was one of those times.

Unless you’re a science geek, you probably are not aware of the fascinating developments in quantum physics.  Quantum physics deals with matter and energy at their most fundamental level.  

It’s built on Isaac Newton’s 17th century laws of motion.  A falling apple led him to develop a theory that explained how the planets orbit the sun.  In creating this theory, he assumed that time and space are fixed.  In other words, that we all experience time and space the same way.

In the 20th century, Albert Einstein turned Newtonian physics on its head.  In his ground-breaking Theory of Relativity, Einstein made some startling revelations.  He discovered that two events which seem to be simultaneous to one observer, are not simultaneous for another observer who is in motion.  He also observed that a clock in motion ticks more slowly than a clock that is stationary relative to an observer.   

In other words, our experience of time is relative to our location and our motion – it's dependent on where we are, and where we’re going.

The impact of Einstein’s work was profound.  It led scientists to recognize the existence of the Big Bang and Black Holes.  In more recent times, it’s also led to the identification of wormholes in space and particles that seem to mysteriously communicate with each other across vast distances as if they are the same particle.  Wrap your head around that.

The upshot of all this is that physicists no longer believe that time and space are fixed entities that we all experience universally.  Instead, they are relative.  As the British physicist Fay Dowker says, “The way that time flows for you and me is dependent on where we are and what we’re doing.”

Friends, we experience this in our daily lives.  The way we experience the passage of time depends on where we are and what we are doing.  

You and I are familiar with this.  We’ve all had the experience of wasting an afternoon glued to the TV or some mindless video game, only to look up at the clock and realize that 5 hours have gone by.

But when it comes to doing God’s work, our experience of time is very different.  When we are in the place God calls us to be, doing the work God intends us to do, time seems to slow down.  That’s because using our time for God’s purpose to benefit others has a deeper meaning than those idle pursuits that benefit only ourselves.  

Those pursuits are, in effect, stationary.  They don’t move us anywhere.  When we are doing God’s work, however, we are in motion.  We are moving toward God’s purposes.  The experience of time becomes slower, more deliberate, and more meaningful – for us and for those God calls us to serve.

Since God created this universe, that must surely be how he wants it.  In God’s eyes, the faithful use of our time, talents and treasure for his purposes is an offering that makes him smile.

That is exactly what the writer of Sirach has in mind.  His name is Ben Sira.  He was a Jewish wisdom teacher who lived in Jerusalem around 200 BC.  150 years earlier Alexander the Great and his army conquered the Mediterranean world and much of the world beyond.  As they did, they spread the culture of ancient Greece everywhere they went.

So, by Ben Sira’s time, many of the Jews in Jerusalem had taken a shine to Greek culture.  It’s not hard to see why.  The Greeks made astonishing advances in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, government, medicine, literature, theater and more.

Those were all good things, of course, but what bothered Ben Sira was that his neighbors were so taken with Greek culture, that they were leaving their Jewish faith behind.  Greek wisdom was all the rage.  The wisdom of the Jewish law was old hat.

That set off alarm bells for Ben Sira.  For him, there was no greater wisdom than the Jewish law.  So, using Proverbs as his framework, he began to write a more detailed how-to manual for living the good life by obeying the commandments of the law.

A central part of his wisdom manual is what you and I read a few moments ago.  Offering our time, talent and tithes for God’s purposes makes God happy, and it makes us happy, as well as those we serve in his name.

Ben Sira writes, “One who keeps the law makes many offerings.  One who heeds the commandments makes an offering of well-being.  One who returns a kindness offers choice flour, and one who gives alms sacrifices a thank-offering.”

His central teaching is this:  Be generous toward God with all we have, just as God has been generous to us.  And God himself provides the example of what that generosity looks like.  In Jesus Christ, God gave his life so that we would have life.  

That is God’s standard of stewardship:  offering all that we are, all that we have, and all that we do to glorify God and share his love with others. 

From time to time, people have said to me that the standard of tithing is only emphasized in the Old Testament.  Since we Christians are under the New Covenant in Jesus Christ, it doesn’t apply to us.

My response is “Well, the New Testament standard is 100%.  Take your pick.”

But that message is as difficult for us to embrace in our day as it was in Ben Sira’s day.  Like him, we, too, live at a time when secular wisdom has captivated many around us, including many Christians.  At the heart of this secular wisdom is the notion that the individual is supreme.  That we succeed or fail all by ourselves.  And what matters most is what matters to us personally.

Some say this tendency to focus on the self, on the individual, is a by-product of the 1960s.  Others see it as the result of the cowboy culture that we idolize.  But the truth is that it runs far deeper in our cultural history.  In fact, there are those who say it goes all the way back to ancient Greek culture. 

Whatever the roots are, it’s clear that our cultural values place self-interest above collective well-being.  So, when it comes to giving ourselves in service to God and our neighbor, the voice of cultural wisdom says, “Are you kidding?  Why should I give my time, talents and money to someone else?  I think I’ll just keep them for myself, for my own enjoyment, thank you very much.”

The great Lebanese-American Poet and Christian, Khalil Gibran famously summarized the fallacy of this cultural wisdom.  He wrote, “Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.”

He sure hit the nail on the head.  Cultural wisdom, as we know it, is besotted by pride, bereft of compassion, and utterly lacking in laughter – unless you mean laughing at those who are less fortunate.  Ultimately, it leads to a lonely life, a life of relational poverty and hollow materialism.  

The message of Ben Sira is that there is a better way to live, a higher wisdom.  It’s the wisdom that calls us back to obedience to God’s law of love, that you and I see expressed in Christ and his command to love God with all we are and all we have, even with our very lives.  It is the wisdom of total stewardship.

But we all know that doesn’t happen all at once.  We get there little by little.  We get there one decision at a time, one choice at a time, one loving action at a time. 

Yes, Jesus wants us to serve him with our whole lives, but in the meantime, he accepts what we are able to give him.

So let me ask you, what are you able to give him? 

I hope you’ll think about that this week.

Next Sunday, of course, is Commitment Sunday.  We will all come to worship with our financial pledges.  By the way, it’s also Reformation Sunday, so be sure to wear your plaid.  I’ve even heard a rumor that Alexander Craighead will join us in worship.  But SHHHH, that’s a secret – don’t tell anybody, OK?

This week, as you consider your financial pledge to the work of God in this place, consider also the way that you will use your talents and time for God’s work here at SSPC.

When you do, I promise you time will slow down – because you will be moving in God’s direction.

May it be so.

Last Published: November 10, 2022 2:52 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

November 2022


November 20, 2020  "Who Is This Jesus?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 13, 2022  "Steady Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2022


October 30, 2022  "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 3: Relationship Redeemers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 23, 2022 "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 2: Generous Givers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 16, 2022   "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 1: Covenant Connectors" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2, 2022,  "Keeping the Flame Burning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2022


September 18, 2022,  "Mammon, Part I:  The Way of Righteousness" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2022


August 28, 2022   "Why Do We Sing?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 7, 2022 "The Essence of Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2022


July 24, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 4: The Judge Who Shows Mercy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 17, 2022  "God's Goodness, Part 3: The Covenant Partner Who Blesses" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 10, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 2: The Law-giver Who Prospers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2022


June 19, 2022 "Words from the Wise: Gamaliel" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

Gathering service Banner