Summary: What's Jesus teaching us in the story of the dishonest manage? How do we use earthly wealth to gain friends? How can we be faithful with what God has entrusted to us?

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Text: Luke 16:1-13

Theme: Manage the Earthly with Your Eyes on Eternity

Season: Pentecost 18c

Date: September 26, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit moves us to live for Jesus is Luke 16.

"He kept speaking to his disciples, "There was a rich man who had a manager. That one was accused of wasting the rich man's possessions. He summoned him and said, 'What's this I hear about you! Hand over your books, for you can no longer be manager.' The manager said to himself, 'What will I do, since my lord is taking the job of management away from me? I'm not strong enough to dig; I'm ashamed to beg. I know! This is what I'll do, in order that when I'm removed from my management position they will welcome me into their homes.'

""He called each one of his lord's debtors and said to the first, 'How much do you owe my lord?' He said, 'A thousand gallons of olive oil.' He said to him, 'Take your bill. Sit down and quickly write fifty.' Then he said to another, 'How much do you owe?' He said, 'A thousand bushels of grain.' He said to him, "Take your bill and write eighty.'

""The lord praised the unrighteous manager because he acted shrewdly. For the sons of this age are shrewder than the sons of the light among their own generation.

""I say to you: Make friends for yourself using unrighteous mammon, in order that when you pass away, they will welcome you into eternal tents. He who is faithful in little is faithful in much as well, and he who is unrighteous in little is unrighteous in much as well. So if you are not faithful in unrighteous mammon, who will entrust you with what is genuine? And if you are not faithful in what belongs to others, who will give you your own? No servant can serve two lords. For either he will hate the one and love he other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon." " (Luke 16:1-13)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

1. How should we view worldly wealth?

Andrew Carnegie, J. D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt. These were the titans of steel, oil, finance, and rail in the 19th century. They also left a legacy of philanthropy with foundations, institutions, libraries, and schools named after them. Yet we might question some of their business practices as unethical, illegal, even immoral. So were these titans industrial statesmen bringing order to the chaos of the industrial revolution and turning America into a 20th century powerhouse? Or were they robber barons, getting ahead in this world any way they could and then buying a legacy with their ill-gotten gains?

Whichever way you want to spin their biographies, I think all would agree that they were shrewd business men. They knew the ways of this world and how to use them for their advantage.

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