September 18, 2022

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

  • First reading and Psalm
    • Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
    • Psalm 79:1-9
  • Alternate First reading and Psalm
    • Amos 8:4-7
    • Psalm 113
  • Second reading
    • 1 Timothy 2:1-7
  • Gospel
    • Luke 16:1-13

The gospel from Luke:
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’

Rich and Poor
17th century Artist:Anonymous
Museum Brot und Kunst
Ulm, Germany

Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’

So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’

And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?

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.”

Our congregation is small but is thrifty, careful about its spending, and yet financially helps other causes. In our gospel reading this week is the Parable of the Dishonest Manager. But it is not about money. Jesus is encouraging shrewdness. We are told to act on opportunities. Act shrewdly for God. Pastor Stevenson said that he is taking an online class on church renewal, which involves strategy, shrewdness. Members of Lutheran churches around the country are participating. One church with an average member age of 65 decided to focus on seniors and their membership grew, bringing in more seniors and then younger new members too. The idea is to count on God and take the initiative……..

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