As we are invited today to consider what it means to be managers (rather than owners) of all that we have, it is crucial to recall that we are bought with a price. “Christ Jesus, himself human, . . . gave himself a ransom for all.” Apart from the generosity of God we have nothing—we are nothing. By God’s gracious favor we have everything we need.
Readings and Psalm
Warnings to those who trample on the needy and poor
The Lord lifts up the poor from the ashes. (Ps. 113:7)
1 Timothy 2:1-7
One God, one mediator—Christ Jesus—who gave himself for all people
A shrewd manager: faithful in little, faithful in much; serving God/wealth
First Reading: Amos 8:4-7
called by God to prophesy in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Peace and
prosperity in Israel led to corrupt business practices and oppression of
the poor. The prophet declares that God will not tolerate such a
situation.4Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
5saying, “When will the new moon be over
so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath,
so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
and practice deceit with false balances,
6buying the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”
7The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Psalm: Psalm 113
The Lord lifts up the poor from the ashes. (Ps. 113:7)1Hallelujah! Give praise, you servants | of the Lord;
praise the name | of the Lord.
2Let the name of the | Lord be blessed,
from this time forth for- | evermore.
3From the rising of the sun to its | going down
let the name of the | Lord be praised.
4The Lord is high a- | bove all nations;
God’s glory a- | bove the heavens.
5Who is like the | Lord our God,
who sits en- | throned on high,
6but stoops | to behold
the heavens | and the earth?
7The Lord takes up the weak out | of the dust
and lifts up the poor | from the ashes,
8enthroning them | with the rulers,
with the rulers | of the people.
9The Lord makes the woman of a | childless house
to be a joyful mother of children. | Hallelujah!
Second Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Epistles offer insight into how early Christians understood many
practical matters, such as church administration and worship. The
church’s focused prayer for others is an expression of the single-minded
passion God has toward us in Jesus.1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For
there is one God;
there is also one mediator between God and humankind,
Christ Jesus, himself human,
6who gave himself a ransom for all
—this was attested at the right time.7For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Gospel: Luke 16:1-13
the curious story of a dishonest man who cheats his employer and then is
commended by him for having acted so shrewdly. Jesus wonders why his
own followers are less creative and diligent in their stewardship given
that they are managers of a far more valuable household.1Then
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. 2So 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.’ 3Then
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. 4I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ 5So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ 7Then
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.’ 8And 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. 9And
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.
10“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. 11If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13No 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.”