March 5 – Gospel Readthrough – Luke 16

Read Luke 16:1-31

Luke 16 starts with the parable of the shrewd manager.

This parable has always troubled me. On the surface, it seems that someone is being praised for being dishonest. It’s interesting that the master commended the “dishonest” manager for being shrewd even though his actions decreased the master’s wealth. Perhaps he is being praised because he has finally learned how worldly wealth can be wisely given away to do good.

I don’t think Jesus is really saying to be dishonest with what has been entrusted to you. I believe it’s really about using worldly wealth to serve and invest in others. “People of Light” (followers of Jesus) can accomplish much by wisely giving up some of their worldly wealth.

This makes me think of the biblical admonition:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21

Jesus, then, makes it clear that you can’t serve both God and money, it just doesn’t work.

I think this is further pointed out in verses 19 – 25. This is an example of not the best use of resources:

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.’”

It seems to me that the rich man could have used some of this wealth to help Lazarus the beggar and make his life easier.

So, how will we use our time, talent and treasure?

Will we use all God has given us for our own pleasure or will we wisely invest part of it in serving others and perhaps earn the right to share Jesus with them?

We can use what God has given us to make an eternal difference!

Mike Molter

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