Posted on Sep 27, 2017 by Pastor Dave Whetter
Last Friday, September 22, the season of fall officially began at approximately 3:10 PM. Just as fall began last week, so did Sunday School for children, teens, and adults. Our Wednesday night program, Oasis, also began last week. Choir has started back up, and our Pantry Pack program seems to be busier than ever. In addition, our facility planning has picked up and, with the direction of the Dream Team, the architectural firm is preparing some initial recommendations for us. With all of this happening, I decided to take some time to reflect on Salem and where we are.
As part of my reflection, I was reading some of the upcoming Gospel texts that I will be preaching on, and the text for October 8, Matthew 21:33-42, caught my attention. This is the parable of the rich landowner. We are told that the landowner has some tenants who have agreed to farm the land for him. As was the custom in those days, the landowner would let the tenants live on the land and keep much of the food for themselves, but in return, when they harvested the crops, they would give the landowner some of the crops, which he, in turn, would sell to make money. Actually, it was a great deal for everybody. The landowner made money on the land without having to do any of the work and the tenants basically had their own farm without having to buy land. It was a great deal for everyone, that is, until the tenants forgot who owned the land. When it came time for the landowner to collect his share, the tenants “killed’ those he sent to collect, including the landowner’s son. The tenants grumbled about giving the owner what was his, and they conspired to keep it all.
As I reflected on where we are here at Salem and the work God seems to be calling us to do, I had to wonder, how are we like those tenants in this parable? How often do we wish to receive more credit for our labor, as if we “own the land” that God has given us. In this parable, there is a fundamental reminder that only God owns everything and we, too, are simply tenants leasing out the talents God has granted to be used for the greater good in His kingdom.
In about a week, each of us will be asked by the Stewardship Team to participate in one small group meeting where we will discuss the future of Salem, share our dreams, and then be challenged to pray about how we can and will support the ministry here at Salem with our time, talents, and financial resources. As we do this, I ask that we remember that all we have belongs to God and all God asks of us is that we share a small portion of those blessings so that we might be a blessing to others. Please take the time to attend one of these house meetings, and remember that we have been blessed to be a blessing.
Shalom, Pr. Dave