What Are You Doing With What You’ve Got?

September 22nd, 2019 25th Sunday Ordinary Time (Cycle C)

The tie in between today’s readings: Serving God or Serving Money?

Psalm 113:1-2; 4-7, Amos 8:4-7, 1Timothy 2:1-8, Luke 16:1-13

You can imagine the Lord’s anger toward His people in today’s reading in Amos 8:4-7 as the whole nation is corrupted by the pursuit of riches. First, they see the Sabbath and other Holy days as inconveniences because they have to close their businesses for worship. Secondly, when they’re open, they make their money by cheating the poor. Instead of providing goods and services, they lock the impoverished into servitude. God wants honesty in business and compassion when dealing with others. In the end, He dismantles the whole society by war and lets them go into captivity. We agree with the concept of doing unto others and that bad actions require bad endings. We applaud this theme, again, in the New Testament when Jesus casts the money changers out of the Temple for ripping off their patrons. So we’re puzzled with our reading in Luke 16:1-13, when our Lord apparently commends the unrighteous steward for stealing from his master in order to save his skin.

To summarize, this rich guy is going to fire his manager for incompetence and tells him to bring the books for an accounting. But before he turns them in, he goes to his master’s clients and reduces all of their debts in order to make them obligated to him when he is terminated. The strange thing is that after it’s all said and done the rich man finds out and commends the fired steward for his shrewd actions.  Jesus encourages us to follow this example. Why? This parable never made sense to me. Jesus should have had the guy thrown in jail for stealing! I found some insight into the meaning of this story from a YouTube presentation put out by the World Revival Church. The key is to remember that Jesus lived in an “honor and shame” society. Your reputation was very important. When the unrighteous steward reduced everyone’s debt, they didn’t know that he was getting fired. In their eyes, this made the rich man the most popular guy in town. The rich master received something more important than the money: honor.  So he commended his fired manager for making him man of the year. When people found out what the manager had done, they went along with it because it would have been shameful to admit to reducing their bills. So everybody took their win-win situation with a wink and a nod and made sure the man who could blow this thing wide open, the fired steward, was kept happy.

Jesus gives a few conclusions to this story. First, get a clue! You can’t serve God and money. Serving money is another way of living for yourself. God gives you resources in this life to serve Him. Get with the program. Second, get at it!  If you are faithful in using these little things, like money, for His glory, then there are better opportunities coming for you in the next life. Neglect this and forget about what could have been! Third, get the big picture! You are a witness for Jesus Christ in this world.  You have a job in order to pay the expenses for this purpose. The entire New Testament church is one large daisy chain that reaches back to the Jesus and the Apostles. Everyone going to heaven from that time until now is there because someone told them the gospel and then they told someone and then they told someone else. Be active in spreading the Good News. You’ll have many forever friends in heaven that’ll be glad you did! Fourth, get over it! If you’ve messed up this far, God will forgive. You can turn around a bad situation just like the unjust steward. Get on your knees and back to Him! Bring all your resources and everything you have to bear on reaching the lost for Christ.  If you have nothing of this world’s possession, you still have the power of heaven in prayer.

In 1 Timothy 2:1-8, Paul encourages prayer on the behalf of all men. Starting from kings and those in authority and then reaching out to every person to come to the knowledge of the truth, Paul’s ministry was for everyone to know that Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man through His sacrifice on the cross. Imagine how many forever friends he has in heaven. In the end, we have our scene in Psalm 113 where all are giving God the honor and the glory for what He has done for us and through us.  So pray, work, and be diligent in what wealth God has given you. You can’t take it with you, but apparently, you can send it on ahead.

One thought on “What Are You Doing With What You’ve Got?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s