Sermon for November 12th, 2017

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Genesis 25:24-34

24 When her (Rebekah's) time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. 27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.

29 Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!” (Therefore he was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Stew(ardship) – Jacob’s Stew

Today marks the beginning of our church's annual stewardship campaign. If you grew up in the church, you're probably familiar with that term, "stewardship." If not, it's kind of like the NPR or PBS annual pledge drive--please don't change the channel! Like those institutions, we rely on generous donations from our members in order to keep the building running, feed the pastor's family, and provide the programs and services that are so meaningful to so many in our community.

But why do we call it a "stewardship" campaign, and what does that word, "stewardship" mean?

Growing up in my six-person family of origin, there was never any question if, whether, or which of the evening leftovers would go into the giant stew-pot that lived in the freezer. Each night, everything that wasn't eaten for dinner got added to that stew pot and frozen, waiting to be thawed, reheated, and reclaimed at the end of the week. The only real question was how this particular leftover ingredient or that would affect the taste and character of the stew when the pot was full. And despite some highly questionable additions (like pancakes, or mashed potatoes, or applesauce) somehow the stew always ended up being surprisingly good--and different every week!