You all probably know the origin story of Spiderman. In case you don't, it goes like this: Peter Parker is a normal teenager, but he gets bit by a radioactive spider. Suddenly he has superpowers. At first, he uses these to make money by wrestling. But one night, he notices a robbery. A guy with a gun gets away. It's not Pete's problem, and he ignores it.
His uncle Ben, however, ends up in the path of the robber, and Ben knows you can't ignore evil. The robber shoots and kills Ben, and Peter is ridden with guilt, because he could have stopped the robber. Uncle Ben once told Peter, "With great power comes great responsibility." As Pete turns into Spiderman, that becomes his mantra. He's a hero because it's either use his powers for good or be guilty for all kinds of evil.
This is the time of the year congregations often talk about stewardship. Fancy word that basically means: Using God's gifts well and caring for God's stuff (meaning everything we have and everything we do is stewardship, right?). Unfortunately, that beautiful big vision is often reduced to simply "give more money to the church". There is part of me, wanting the future of Trinity to flourish, who wants to say: Give more money to the church! But that'd be a disservice to stewardship.
Stewardship is like being a hero. Whether we're talking time, resources like money, or talents and abilities, each of us has been given more than we can imagine. With every gift you have comes a responsibility to use it for good. And not simply your own good, like Pete did by making money wrestling. Rather, for the good of others, like Spiderman dedicated his life to.
What evil will you prevent in 2020? Will you help make our building accessible those who can't easily stand? I hope so. But stewardship looks beyond the things in which we're already invested. Will you make sure a neighbor has shelter? Will you pay for a hungry child's meals? Will you make a dying person smile?
What evil will we prevent as a congregation in 2020? What gifts do we have as a community that could stop evil in its tracks? How can our resources help sore-infested Lazarus back to his feet? How will our energy celebrate the prodigal son's return? How will our love make space for the older son to come to the party as well? How will our money help us switch sides like the manager, attending to those whom Jesus says will be the true guardians of the gates of heaven: our neighbors in need.