The battle of Dunkirk was a humiliating loss for the allies early in World War Two in 1940. 

338,000 British and French soldiers had to be evacuated across the English Channel, back to the UK. 

But, in the end, the allies were better resourced and better manned. 

They may have lost a few battles, but they won the war.

War is a game of attrition. 

Whoever loses the least life wins the war .

in fact, everyone knows that when there is war there is death. 

That's why no one enters war unless they believe they can win it. 

And that's why God the Son came to us as Jesus 

because only Jesus could face the onslaught of sin in the world and defeat it. 

And that defeat of sin and death is the topic of our epistle lesson.

For the next few weeks, we will be looking at the letter to the Hebrews. 

It was written to Jews who had to learn what it meant to be Christians. 

And it holds lessons for us Lutherans who also need to learn what it means to be a Christian. 

And this year we will especially be looking to that text to help us understand what it means for us to be Christian stewards. 

And our first lesson is that we are to be stewards of our faith.

Even though it was a military defeat, Dunkirk was a morale booster for the allies. 

Because they were trapped against the ocean, these soldiers faced death or capture at the hand of the enemy. 

But, in a brave and daring endeavor,

 a flotilla of boats small medium and large, all came across the channel, 

many privately owned and piloted by their owners. 

and, with support from the air forces, they managed to move the entire army to safety under the course of just a few days. 

While the retreat and evacuation were humiliating, 

doing so with relatively few casualties was a moral victory. 

The allies would live to fight another day.

In Hebrews Chapter two verse nine, we have the end result of the war for our souls.     

“By the grace of God, he might taste death for everyone.”

If death is the simple cost of war, Jesus has made it worthless as currency. 

Normally, death can only be experienced once by the one who has earned it. 

But Christ experienced the death of all, so that it would not be able to defeat us.

And in verse six we see the importance of this experience of Jesus. 

It means he has power over everything, 

because death is the one thing over which we have no power. 

And even if only he had power over death, 

then there is no one greater to which we can place our faith and trust. 

Miracles are great. 

Words of wisdom are helpful. 

But only power over death can save us from death. 

And This is why the “writer” in verse two begins this passage by asking, “how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”

And that is precisely what many Christians do. They neglect their faith to the point that they put their salvation at risk. 

Either, because it is so weak that they fall into the temptation to walk away from their faith and simply let it die by starvation, 

or, because they have actually been led astray and have actively denounced their faith saying they no longer believe. 

Whether by accident or on purpose the end result is the same: eternal separation from God after our mortal death.

And This is why I'm beginning our stewardship series talking about faith. 

A Christian steward is one “who manages their life and all of life's resources, to the glory of God, and for use in his Kingdom.” 

And faith is the first and most important thing God gives us that has eternal consequences. 

Normally, people think of time, talents, and treasure, when talking about stewardship. 

But, without faith, none of these matter to God. 

Yes, the church is always glad to receive gifts and donations from whomever would like to support our ministry,

but true tithes and offerings to God can only come from those who have faith in God. T

he unbeliever gives a donation from their excess, 

while the believer returns an offering from whatever they have received from God. 

And since faith is what joined us to God and made us believers, 

then we steward that faith 

so that it continues to flow back to the one who gave it to us, 

God via his Holy Spirit.

Unlike earthly generals who have to make plans which they know will get soldiers killed, God's plan allowed for all to live. 

With God's war plan there are no acceptable levels of casualties. 

Jesus’ triumph over death and the devil were complete. 

For those who have faith in Jesus, victory is 100% certain. 

And yet not all will be saved because we can resist faith. 

That is, we can choose death over life. 

We can say, “I want to run away from the safety of Jesus.” 

and, instead, run headlong toward the deadly jaws of self-righteousness, desire, and denial of almighty God.

This is what the writer to the Hebrews was warning us about.

That faith itself is such a valuable gift from God that we dare not squander it or let it go! 

And because that faith is in the one who has power over everything, 

we would be fools to place our trust in another, 

or worse yet, simply wander away from faith, by being careless or lazy.

And so today, like each Sunday in October, we will be challenged to grow in our stewardship in new ways. 

And this week we are challenged to be better stewards of our faith. 

And we do that by growing it and exercising it.

Of course a study steady diet of word and sacrament are essential. 

As we are challenged each day to neglect our faith, 

weekly worship and Holy Communion give us strength to share to stave off attacks against that faith. 

Daily Bible reading and Bible study are also important. 

If you have a Bible app on your phone like YouVersion you can sign up to receive a verse of the day. 

And and other websites 

can send you a daily Bible study to read and consider 

and even share ideas with others who are also studying that passage of text. 

But, perhaps the one area which can have the most impact, is prayer. 

This is partly because most of us neglect prayer, so any growth is significant. 

But prayer also complements our worship and Bible reading time, 

as prayer allows us to talk with God and, overtime, 

lets us observe and experience his answers to these prayers.

To help you be better stewards of your faith, 

and to, perhaps, help you start a new stewardship discipline, 

we have given each of you a seven day prayer journal. 

Please take it home and spend time each day praying. 

If you need help with topics to pray about, start with the prayer concerns listed in the announcements bulletin. 

Write down whatever you pray about each day and, 

after you've got one day behind you, 

review previous days prayers to see where you might continue in prayer, 

and to see how and where God has already answered your prayers.

 These little booklets are only 7 pages long, 

but most of us have extra little notebooks lying around we can use after its full, 

or, this gives you a week to find one that works for you in the weeks ahead.

My prayer is that this week we will all reconnect with God through our faith in meaningful ways, 

so that we will not only appreciate it, 

but so that we may grow it and use it for God's glory and purposes, 

as good stewards of life and all of God's gifts in life. 

In the name of Jesus.