Oct 30, 2016

Devotion for 30 October


A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin for today.  Today is the second of a three sermon series on stewardship. Themes and content from the devotion are derived from the LSB pp 1749 and from Constable’s Notes on www.netbible.org.
Gospel Reading: Luke 16:1-9 (English Standard Version)
He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management 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 removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master? ’He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
Devotion: Parable of the Dishonest Manager
We do not know what the manager did to waste the owner’s possessions; we do not know if it was deliberate or not; but the owner would have none of it and fired the manager. Then, the manager wasted no time in setting himself up for a soft landing with the owner’s clients. The difficult part of this parable for me is trying to figure out why the rich man commended the dishonest manager for shrewdness. What is Jesus trying to tell us with this lesson? I will offer up a few thoughts:
1- He could be telling folks not to be like the Pharisees who had a bad reputation for finding ways to enrich themselves from other people’s property.
2- It may be that the manager simply reduced a high and dishonest interest rate and his commission to arrive at the newly discounted debts, not impacting what was actually due to the master/owner.
3- Jesus is saying be like a man of business when you work for His kingdom and be shrewd with your time, talents, and offerings.
4- Verse 9 really means use your earthly means to do Kingdom work and bring people into His kingdom who will welcome you when you die (“so that when wealth fails”) you will be welcomed into heaven by those you brought in.
5- With respect to the owner who is commending the manager for shrewdness, this is an attitude that our Savior might have--He wants us all to be successful and happy no matter what is in our sinful past.

We pray: Lord your blessings are many -- help me use them wisely. Amen