The manager’s job performance is only part of what Jesus addresses as irresponsible. In a broader context, Jesus teaches about service to God versus service to money.
The King James Version uses the word mammon for money. Mammon is more than pocket change or insatiable greed for material possessions. It refers to what a person trusts in. Jesus draws a distinction between trusting in material and earthly things rather than in what God gives. Jesus offers a lesson in selfishness versus selflessness, in living God’s way instead of our way. Serving God requires an unselfish concern for the welfare of God’s gifts. In our service to God we accept responsibility for what God has given us. And one gift we’ve received is the earth we inhabit.
It follows then that we treat the world like it’s ours, because it is. But we have been guilty of disrespecting God’s gift. We often hear stories of denial and self-justification: “That’s not my fault. . . . It’s your problem. . . . I’m not guilty of polluting . . . . It’s my DNA. . . . I’m not responsible.” Shunning responsibility and accountability for our planet has led and will continue to lead to dire consequences.
Jesus calls us to acknowledge where we place our trust. God notices our behavior; God knows what master we serve. God made us to be responsible and accountable. Accordingly, God lifts us to a standard God knows we are capable of maintaining. When we do, we choose to place our trust in God rather than the material. Service to God leads to respect for all creation. “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much.”
Thank you, Lord, for holding us accountable as we learn to care for the earth, the home you have given us. May we never take it for granted. Amen.
Three of the texts for this Sunday deal with intercession; although they certainly will not make praying any easier, they may make it more hopeful. The readings from both Jeremiah and the psalm depict the anguish of one who identi es with the pain of God’s faithless people. Prophet and psalmist grieve with and for the people and join in the persistent and impatient plea for health and renewal. But God turns out not to be an impassive or distant deity but one bound up with the anguish of the prophet and the anguish of the people. Likewise, the psalmist discovers that the God who refuses to tolerate Israel’s faithlessness nevertheless cannot nally abandon the chosen community. First Timothy also challenges readers to offer prayers of intercession and speci es that they be made for those in positions of political leadership.
• Read Jeremiah 8:18–9:1. Jeremiah weeps for the self-will and disrespect of his people toward God. What do you see in the contemporary world that causes you to weep?
• Read Psalm 4. How do you, like David, acknowledge God’s guidance in your life?
• Read 1 Timothy 2:1-7. Paul reminds us to pray for everyone, no matter their relation to us. How can you be more inten- tional in praying for others?
• Read Luke 16:1-13. In what ways can you take more per- sonal responsibility in being a steward for the things God bestows to humanity?
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