This Is The Word Of The Lord
Sunday September 22nd, 2013
Portrait painted by James Tissot and hangs in the Brooklyn Museum.
Luke the Evangelist is one of the Four Evangelists or authors of the Gospels (“good news” or “good tidings”) of Jesus Christ. It is believed that he authored the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts of the Apostles!
A painter of some talent, it is believed that he was the first Icon painter, and painted pictures of the Virgin Mary! He also became a follower of Paul and it is Paul who reported that Luke was a doctor.
Dying in 84 AD (it is presumed he was martyred), he was venerated as a Saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Referred to as “Saint Luke the Evangelist”, he is considered the patron Saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, students and butchers.
Gospel, Luke 16:1-13 NIV
The Parable Of The Shrewd Manager
Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg… I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’
“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
“‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied.
“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’
“Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
“‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.
“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’
“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
What Does Luke Mean?
Today’s Gospel reading is another of Christs parables. And when we read it the first thing we are asked to think about is that we should be careful and wise when it comes to our possessions and how we use them as part of out living. Then we are hit with the teaching that we must choose who and what we will worship, God or gold, because there can not be more than one God in each life!
But then if we look just a little bit deeper into the parable, we realize that Luke is focusing on the matter of money….a favorite topic of his (which makes me wonder if his chosen profession as a physician before accepting the invitation to become a disciple was somehow tied to the gold it would engender). Well, for whatever the reason, Luke’s view of wealth during the days of his ministry, was that wealth was a means of exploiting those who were easily victimized. And we should not be surprised that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Those who would force someone out of their home because they could not pay their due, has always been, throughout all of history, frowned upon by the “little guy”!
In this parable, both the shrewd Manager and his rich master are equally despised. You see, when given a choice to how to handle the situation, the rich Master commends the actions of his Manager, rather than lose his honor, which he viewed as more valuable to him that his gold.
So the lesson seems to be to act like neither of these men. Don’t wheel and deal for personal gain but instead, become closer to those whose poverty might make them perfect prey for being exploited. Seek a common bond with those who have less. Level the playing field and establish the bonds of both equality and unity, when given the opportunity!
Oh, and always remember, Exodus 20:3 (Thou shalt have no other gods before me. KJV)
1 Timothy 1:12-17 NIV
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
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