Reflections: August 9, 2020
The Ninth Sunday after Trinity
By David Magruder
You cannot serve God and money. (Luke 1:13)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yes, Jesus, we get it. We cannot serve God and money. If only it were that simple. The new you in Christ says a loud "Amen" to the word of Jesus that concludes the parable of the rich man and the shrewd manager. However, the old sinful you cannot say "Amen" to Jesus' conclusion.
We are faithless in the management of much and very little. We love money and the security it brings. If only we had more. We serve money with our time and talent as if it were a god and not a gift from the One whose hand supplies all our needs of body and soul. We get it all backward: We live in service to money instead of recognizing that money serves us. So this parable becomes a call to repentance. Put to death the dishonesty and idolatry that dogs you day by day. We pray with saint/sinner David, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin" (Psalm 51:1-2).
The key to wrapping your heart and mind around the meaning of this parable is to focus on the mercy of the rich man, not the dishonesty of the manager. Mercy.
The dishonest manager was commended because he chose to serve his lord, who he trusted would be merciful. He used unrighteous wealth to achieve his goal, though he trusted not in the wealth but in his merciful master.
In Luke 12:34 Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there also your heart will be." Faithful disciples will be commended for seeing that the crucified and risen Jesus is their treasure, and for trusting in His mercy. And that mercy is delivered to and for you this day in Jesus' Body and Blood which keeps you, body and soul, now and forever. That's mercy! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Let your merciful ears. O Lord, be open to the prayers of Your humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity)
-Rev. David Magruder is pastor of Peace With Christ Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, CO.
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