Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.
“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” ~ Luke 16:1-13
It is really easy to get lost in the confusing parable. I've heard many, many different interpretations of it. Enough that quite honestly, I'm not going to try to explain it right now. (if you interested in more detail on it, check out our website at gracelutheranroyersford.com or to our Facebook page to see my sermon on this parable).
Instead let's get to Jesus' pretty succinct summary of all the readings we've gotten this week.
You cannot serve God and wealth.
He doesn't say you can't have money. Even Jesus was dependent on the wealth of some of his followers to support his ministry.
He says you can't serve both God and wealth.
What are the ways we serve wealth in this country? What are the ways in which money leads us by the nose as the primary beneficiary of our time and focus?
I admit that it's easy for me to notice all the ways in which money is the primary focus of other people (or institutions), but not always the ways in which it is my focus. I don't want to admit all the ways in which money has had my service in my lifetime.
I don't want to admit all the ways in which I have loved money more than God...
and more than my neighbor.
Lord God help me to be in your service always. Help me to use money for service to your people. Amen