Saturday, September 21, 2019

Pentecost 15 - Proper 20

Pentecost 15 – Proper 20
22 September 2019
Luke 16:1-15
Too weak to dig, and too proud to beg? - Trust in the Merciful Master!

Keep, we pray You, O lord, Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because without You we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful and lead us to all thing profitable to our salvation;

It’s been eight years. Since my children left the house. It’s been fifteen years. Since they were both in high school.  I completely understand those of you who find yourself in that stage of life. It seems as though your mini-van has become your primary residence! 

It is a busy and hectic time in your life. And to be quite honest with you, there’s one thing I’ve learned to treasure on that short season of life now looking back. 

Whether it’s driving your student to practice or a rehearsal, whether it’s taking them to and from school or some particular outing; that is the exact time you are together. And it was those conversations we had together that were important.

An interesting dynamic about Mom or Dad’s taxi service is how invisible you become when you’re driving a vehicle full of teenagers. You’re simply driving.  And they are talking incisively. And you get to listen in on their discussions and exchanges as they banter about! And oh the conversations!  You become privy to information you never new! Or, in some instances, ever cared to know. 

Our Gospel reading for this morning is a continuation of Jesus’ teaching of the Father's mercy.  Jesus is teaching the disciples. But the Pharisees are listening. And so are you.  

The Pharisees who were lovers of money also ridiculed Him.” Jesus responds, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men but God knows your heart. What is highest among men is detestable, an abomination in the sight of God.”(vs.15)

What was it that drew the ire of the Pharisees? The fact that Jesus is showing how the Lord is rich in grace and mercy. The parables of Jesus always tell us something about Himself. And about the Kingdom. When you hear one of Jesus’ parables, He is always telling you something you should know about His love. His grace. His mercy. His kindness. His character. And, when Jesus teaches a parable there is always a surprise. Something you did not expect!

A manager is brought up on charges that he has wasted his Master’s possessions.  He’s forced to turn over the books and face an audit. He’s told, “You can no longer be my manger.” Did you notice the surprise?  The manager is accused. Not good. He’s told, “You can no longer be my manager.” Even worse! However he isn’t fired. He keeps his job!

Here is the first surprise! Mercy is unjust. The manager is busted for his wastefulness. He is told, “You can no longer be my manager.”  The Master expects obedience. He is just. 

But he does not throw his manager into prison. This does not make sense in man’s economy. It makes perfect sense in God’s.   

What wealth can you use to bribe God? –Stolen wealth.  That which belongs to another. That is not yours. That which you cannot buy or earn. That is all a part of God’s economy.

The innocent dies for guilty – that injustice is the foundation of the Kingdom. It is the shocking character of grace. – The Master gives the Kingdom away. The Father forsakes the Son. To have you. He accepts payment from the Son. As compensation for your sin.  More than you stole. He adds to your account. He adds a credit. And you end up with more than you attempted to steal. 

Jesus shows us the character of the Master. – Who does not fire the steward. And the steward banks on the character and the generosity of the Master. There are no Masters in this world like that. He goes too far. A Master we can never imagine. He is pleased with the steward. Because what the steward has done is give the Master’s things away. For free. This is the parable of the Merciful Master who gives away the Kingdom. For free –         

Who can receive you into eternal dwellings? Only God. Thus, Jesus concludes with this thought. - You cannot serve God and money. The steward teaches us a valuable lesson.  Money must never to be seen an end in itself. It is only a means to an end.

Employment does not last forever. Retirement does not last forever.  No matter the level of security anyone has amassed; all of us, sooner, or later, will end up in a plot of earth. Given eternity. How can any thing of a material nature have any lasting consequence?

So where do you place your trust? Trust not in princes they are but mortal. Trust not in yourself. You will fail. Trust not in anything except the mercy of God. Who loves you more than you could ever imagine. Who is content to give you His Kingdom. At the price of His own Son. Deserving has nothing to do with it. It all depends on the Father’s character. His good will. His clemency. His mercy. His grace.

Words – 880
Passive Sentences –4%
Readability – 79%
Reading Level – 4.0

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