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Summary: God is looking for Single Minded people

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LUKE 16:1-13

GOD IS LOOKING FOR SINGLE MINDED PEOPLE

Sermon

This is one of the most difficult parables to understand - because at first blush it looks as if Jesus is condoning sharp practices.

On careful reflection however, I don’t think he is.

The Story is a bit of an enigma

There are some possible explanations for the Crooked Manager’s actions, that Jesus commends.

EXPLANATION 1

1. Overlending and reducing to a reasonable debt

A bit like our present banking crisis.

Had the crooked manager been overlending to people and charging too much interest so that the customers had no chance of paying it back?

If so, then what he did made good business sense.

He simply made credible reductions in the bills so that the creditors were more likely to be able to pay off their bills.

EXPLANATION 2

2. He took off the Interest

Another explanation was that it may well be that the crooked manager took off the interest that he had been charging.

You see “charging of interest” was something expressly

forbidden for a Jew to do - to another Jew under Old Testament Law.

So to get round it if one borrowed 400 gallons of olive oil one would sign a repayment note for 800 gallons.

So no interest was charged because 800 gallons was "borrowed"!!

EXPLANATION 3

3. He took off his cut in the business

Another theory was that the crooked manager who would have been entitled to a cut in the business. So he simply wrote off his own cut

But however you look at it – the Crooked Manager was just that – a scoundrel.

His “generosity” to the creditors would never have happened if he hadn’t been caught cooking the books

He was lining his own pockets.

He was not faithful to his master

So what Jesus is admiring is the shrewdness of crooked manager.

He is not commenting on the morality of the man.

The message of this parable is found in Luke 16:13

No servant can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money.

Or put another way in Mt 6: 19-21

19-20"Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. (The Message)

21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)

The message is simply this

God is looking for single-minded people

CHALLENGE 1

The first challenge if we are to be single minded in God’s cause requires us to spend time with God in prayer. We cannot be Christians unless we have a close relationship with God.

That’s what prayer is all about – spending time with God.

How could I expect to keep my marriage going if I did not spend time with my wife?

Yet many Christians expect that we can keep our spiritual lives with God going with one Sunday service a week.

Story: About 10 years ago a survey of American and Canadian pastors of all denominations was carried out and one of the questions asked was how much time do

you spend in prayer a week.

From those honest enough to answer, it appeared that the average time that was being spent in prayer was 15 minutes a week.


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