Unemployment is a problem in many countries. I have known persons who have been retrenched, and I have seen its difficult effects. Many persons face crises about their worth and about their future when they experience unemployment.
The steward in the parable Jesus tells faces the crisis of unemployment. He feels he is not strong enough to do manual work, and he does not want to beg. After being dismissed, he sets about meeting with his master’s debtors and lessening their debt. By doing so, he ensures that the debtors (who do not yet know he has been dismissed) will think highly of his master and may appreciate the steward’s reduction of their debt enough to welcome him into their homes.
This parable teaches the followers of Jesus to learn from the ways of the world. The steward uses his resources to ensure that he will be taken care of once he loses his employment. Jesus uses this parable to tell his followers to use the resources available to them as they follow him.
Jesus calls us, too, to be resourceful as we seek to follow him. Crises of a personal nature come our way, as do crises in national life. Whatever we face, we can put our minds to following Jesus. We can be as resourceful as the entrepreneur who works hard toward building a successful business or as an athlete who trains for hours to win a race.
Being resourceful in following Jesus will mean growing in grace and in the knowledge and love of God. Spiritual growth comes in many forms. Give some thought to your own spiritual growth. What do you need to do to grow in knowledge and love of God and neighbor?
God of love, help me to love as you have loved me in Jesus, my Lord. Amen.
The “weeping prophet” grieves for the plight of his people. They have provoked God’s judgment by following foreign gods, and now there is no comfort to be found. The psalmist cries out to God from a similar situation of despair. Foreign nations have overrun the land, destroyed Jerusalem, and killed many of its people. The psalmist cries out to God for compassion and restoration. The author of First Timothy gives his readers two commands. They should pray for and honor their leaders, and they should be faithful to the one true God, with whom they have a relationship through Christ Jesus. Jesus in Luke tells a strange parable about a dishonest manager who is commended for his shrewd business sense, but Jesus turns his story to a teaching about good stewardship.
Read Jeremiah 8:18–9:1. When have you called out to God in your distress?
Read Psalm 79:1-9. As you search after a solution to life’s problems, how do you demonstrate God’s call to love and to justice?
Read 1 Timothy 2:1-7. How do you pray for your local, state or province, and national leaders with whom you agree? with whom you disagree?
Read Luke 16:1-13. How do you negotiate the complexities of Jesus’ call to be a good steward of your resources as you seek to serve God rather than money?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.