1 Jesus said to his disciples, “There was once a rich man who had a servant who managed his property. The rich man was told that the manager was wasting his master’s money.
2 So he called him in and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Hand in a complete account of your handling of my property, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’
3 The servant said to himself, ‘My master is going to dismiss me from my job. What shall I do? I am not strong enough to dig ditches, and I am ashamed to beg.
4 Now I know what I will do! Then when my job is gone, I shall have friends who will welcome me in their homes.’
5 So he called in all the people who were in debt to his master. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
6 ‘One hundred barrels of olive oil,’ he answered. ‘Here is your account,’ the manager told him; ‘sit down and write 50.’
7 Then he asked another one, ‘And you – how much do you owe?’ ‘A thousand sacks of wheat,’ he answered. ‘Here is your account,’ the manager told him; ‘write 800.’
8 As a result the master of this dishonest manager praised him for doing such a shrewd thing; because the people of this world are much more shrewd in handling their affairs than the people who belong to the light.”
9 And Jesus went on to say, “And so I tell you: make friends for yourselves with worldly wealth, so that when it gives out,
you will be welcomed in the eternal home.
10 Whoever is faithful in small matters will be faithful in large ones; whoever is dishonest in small matters will be dishonest in large ones.
11 If, then, you have not been faithful in handling worldly wealth, how can you be trusted with true wealth?
12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what belongs to you?
13 No servant can be the slave of two masters; such a servant will hate one and love the other or will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Other readings: Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113:1-2, 4-8; 1 Timothy 2:1-8
This can be a difficult parable to interpret.As with all parables, it is important to focus on the main lessons rather than getting sidetracked by taking the illustration too far. This passage can be understood on various levels but we will concentrate on two main points.
Jesus encourages us to be faithful stewards of the talents and resources he has entrusted to us, especially our money. We should use these gifts wisely or shrewdly. However, it would be wrong to conclude that Jesus approves of dishonest means to achieve this, as other passages of Scripture – including today’s reading from Amos – make clear.
The other important point is to keep an eye on who exactly is your master? What or who drives you? Are God’s principles guiding your daily life or is it being shaped more by television and the media? Are we truly serving God or really just ourselves? Jesus makes it clear that we have to make a choice – no one can serve two masters.
Consider whether God is your only master or if you are trying to serve other masters, too. Think about who, or what, influences what you do and think each day.
Consider how faithful and wise you are being with the resources God has entrusted to you.
Ask God to show you any ways you could bless others with your time and possessions.
Use 1 Timothy 2:1-8 as a basis for your prayers today. We are instructed to pray for our leaders and people in authority. Ask God to guide them and help them to use their power wisely.
We are also called to pray for freedom to practise our faith. Why not also take this opportunity to pray for those living in countries where it is hard and dangerous to live as a Christian?
Read Amos 8:4-7 and consider God’s heart for the poor and those who are exploited by others. Are there any practical ways you can respond?
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