These philosophical observations from Jesus come as a summary to his unusual and confusing parable about the Rich Man and the Dishonest Manager. The first few verses are as confusing as the story they reference. However, the final—and perhaps most famous—verse offers some helpful grounding for Jesus’ ultimate point. He says, “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.”
Essentially, Jesus is saying that no matter what situation you’re in, your behavior and its impact will be determined by what you prioritize and allow to guide you. But Jesus gets more pointed than that. He specifically juxtaposes wealth and God. Does this mean that money is inherently bad? Does it mean that someone with a lot of money is inherently bad? What exactly constitutes a lot? It’s easy to be vexed by these questions, but Jesus’ statement is really about what we value.
Regardless of how much money we have, if acquiring wealth is our goal above all else, we will be tempted to behave in ways that separate us from other people and from God. God’s ways call us to work for the good of all people and to be generous and open with what we have.
It is common in our world today—as it was in Jesus’ time—to base our sense of security on our possessions. But true security comes only when we grasp on to God’s love and trust above all else in how God calls us to live.
God, help me not to hold on so tightly to the pursuit of wealth on earth that I fail to take hold of the abundance of love, grace, and hope I can have in you. Amen.
Jeremiah, “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 into a teaching about good stewardship.
Read Jeremiah 8:18–9:1. When have you called out to God in distress?
Read Psalm 79:1-9. As you search for solutions 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 work to serve God rather than money?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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