4th Sunday After the Festival of Cross
by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas Valiyaparambil
Next Sunday is the 4th Sunday after Sleebo. Gospel reading for Sunday is from Luke 16:1-15.
"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon (money)." Luke 16:13)
Gospel Reading: Luke 16:1-15
The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
1 Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2So he called him in and asked him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.'
3 "The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg 4I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.'
5 "So he called in each one of his master's debtors. He asked the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'
6 " 'Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,' he replied.
"The manager told him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.'
7 "Then he asked the second, 'And how much do you owe?'
" 'A thousand bushels of wheat,' he replied.
"He told him, 'Take your bill and make it eight hundred.'
8 "The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?
13 "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight."
Rich man and the shrewd manager
In the gospel, Jesus relates a parable to the disciples in reference to our attitude towards wealth. Jesus talks about our possessions, how we are to deal with what God has given us as a gift.
The parable is about a foolish steward, or manager. The master, or the owner, had entrusted the manager with all his wealth to be properly looked after. However, the manager misused the goods. When the master came back and realized that the manager had misused his wealth, he dismissed the manager and gave the manager time to settle the accounts. The moment this manager realized it did cost him the job, he makes an assessment of what he did. The manager said to himself, "What shall I do now?. The owner is taking away my job." He realized he is in trouble. The moment this manager realized that he is going to lose his job, he makes an assessment of where he stood. The manger said to himself, "What shall I do now My Master is taking away my job." He realized he is in trouble.
When the master came back, he dismissed the manager, and gave him time to settle the accounts. The manager begins to cut down on what he overcharged the owner and customers. The master afterwards praises the manager for realizing his problems and taking immediate actions to fix it. The Lord said this man should be commended because he began to use his opportunity wisely.
There are three things noticeable in this parable:
When the master came back, the unwise manager was brought to accountability for his actions. The Master owned the wealth. The manager only managed it. The Master had expectations and this explains why the manager was accountable to the owner.
2) Assessment of the manager.
The moment the unwise manager found out he was going to lose his job, he made an assessment of where he stood. The manager said to himself, "What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I am not strong to do any manual labor, and I am ashamed to beg.' He realizes he is in trouble. The master came home and found the manager was not doing what the owner required of him.
3) The actions of the manager.
The manager sat down with his account books, began to correct the accounts.
There are three lessons we can learn from this parable.
1) First: We are to use the opportunity wisely. The master praised the manager for the fact that he realized there was a problem. He immediately took action to fix it. Likewise, use the opportunity that God has given us wisely. God gives us a chance just like the owner gave the manager, a chance to correct our lifestyle. There is an old saying, like this, "Though I can't go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now on and make a brand new ending." And that is what happened to the manager. The Lord said the man shall be commended because he used his opportunity wisely.
2) Second: Trust is something to be earned. Trust cannot be given or granted freely. It must be earned. If we can't be faithful with little things, how can we be with large things?. If we misuse whatever was given to us, the master won't give us any more. God doesn't trust us on what we plan to do or hope to do, instead we will be measured on by what we are doing right now.
3) Third: Be totally devoted to God. No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and mammon (wealth).
Let's be faithful to God for all his blessings.
Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 4th sunday after Sleebo
Money is a good servant but a terrible master by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas Valiyaparambil
Parable of the Unjust Steward by Fr. Thomas Ninan
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