Summary: A sermon for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost

17 Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 20

Lectionary 25

September 23

Luke 16:1-13

"How is your Effort?"

"He also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. And he called him and said to him, ’What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ And the steward said to himself, ’What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’ 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.’ And 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 steward 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 mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations. "He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."" Luke 16:1-13, RSV.

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

Among the many parables of Soren Kiekegaard is the story of a wild pigeon. The pigeon lived contently from season to season enjoying its freedom to come and go as it pleased. One day, it perched itself on the roof of a farmhouse,observing some of the domestic pigeons sheltered within a cage the farmer had constructed for them. The wild pigeon watched the farmer returning home at the end of the day, stopping on his way to feed the pigeons.

As the pigeon flew away, it occurred to him for the first time that he did not know where this next meal would come from, or that he was no completely satisfied with the freedom he had. "How much better," he thought, "to have meals served to me in my own very house."

When no one was looking, he flew down from the roof of the farmhouse and squeezed his way into the pigeon pen. That evening as the farmer returned fro the fields, he reached into the pend and took the wild pigeon. Inside his house , he prepared his supper of pigeon stew."

The parable of our gospel lesson today speaks to this theme of easiness, lack of effort, discipleship, commitment or following through. As we look closely a the parable of the dishonest steward, we can see that Jesus is saying that people who do dishonest deed put a lot of effort into their deeds.

A steward was fired for not doing his job well. Then he thought ," what shall I do? I cannot dig ditches and an ashamed to beg."

So he calls in all the people who owe his master money and tells them to change their bill. He figures in this way, those people will be beholding to him and they will take care of him now that the has lost his job.

Pretty smart thinking, right?

The master then finds out about his shrewdness as the text says and commends the steward for his fast thinking.

Even today a lot of people put a lot of effort into doing wrong thing for their selfish ends.

For example " Two partner had a clothing store. One would stay in the back room while the other waited on the people. The one waiting on the people would pretend he was hard of hearing. When a customer would choose a suit he liked, he would ask the price. The clerk would call to his partner in the back room, "How much is the suit Harry/"

Harry would reply in a loud and clear voice so the customer would be sure to hear $149.00. The clerk wold then say it was $129.00. Many people would hurry and buy that suit for $129.00 thinking they were making a good deal because they thought the clerk heard the wrong price. Little did they know that the partners were pulling a fast one on them and in their own greed they jumped as the chance of making a killing.

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