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S (Scripture): Luke 16:1 Jesus also said to the disciples, “A certain rich man heard that his household manager was wasting his estate. 2 He called the manager in and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give me a report of your administration because you can no longer serve as my manager.’
3 “The household manager said to himself, What will I do now that my master is firing me as his manager? I’m not strong enough to dig and too proud to beg. 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I am removed from my management position, people will welcome me into their houses.
5 “One by one, the manager sent for each person who owed his master money. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil.’ The manager said to him, ‘Take your contract, sit down quickly, and write four hundred fifty gallons.’ 7 Then the manager said to another, ‘How much do you owe?’ He said, ‘One thousand bushels of wheat.’ He said, ‘Take your contract and write eight hundred.’
8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he acted cleverly. People who belong to this world are more clever in dealing with their peers than are people who belong to the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to make friends for yourselves so that when it’s gone, you will be welcomed into the eternal homes.
10 “Whoever is faithful with little is also faithful with much, and the one who is dishonest with little is also dishonest with much. 11 If you haven’t been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 If you haven’t been faithful with someone else’s property, who will give you your own? 13 No household servant can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
14 The Pharisees, who were money-lovers, heard all this and sneered at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves before other people, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued by people is deeply offensive to God…”
O (Observation): Jesus at it again…turning the world of the Pharisees (and us) upside-down. Those folks who owed money should have not been given a break. The steward should have walked away and let everyone pay back what was owed.
The fact that Jesus points out that the Pharisees were money-lovers drives home the personal nature of the story. Jesus is trying to make things very simple: you love God OR money; you can’t love both!
Jesus must sense that the Pharisees (and us at times) are too caught up in the worldly impact that wealth has on leaders. Wealth informs our decisions and especially has an impact on our relationships.
What is important here is that Jesus is lifting up relation over wealth / status.
A (Application): How often do we allow the things of this world to make our decisions for us. Our money drives our status / power. Our status of our relationships can even cause us to work towards maintaining power over another, rather than allowing equality in the relationship.
We so love money that we allow its influence to drive our choices: cars, homes, clothes, school system, etc. We let money come before God, when we choose to give to God what is leftover at the end of the month, rather than determining a goal or percentage. (Listen: if you don’t hit the goal, God ain’t gonna zap ya…it’s the intentionality that counts, here.)
Determine what is faithful What honors your neighbor? What honors God? Answer those questions, and you will have done well.
P (Prayer): Lord, help us in our discernment. Amen.