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Christmas Countdown 2019….Day 16


Good morning to you on a snow covered Monday!

Yesterday Russ and I ran some errands in the late afternoon and I noticed that the stores are beginning to have that tired look, as do the shoppers we encountered.

Christmas items are getting picked over and marked down.

We ran into several friends and acquaintances who are doing the last minute search for items to even up their gift giving piles for family and friends. 

One of the things I have noticed this year in speaking with some women of all ages is that we are very conscientious about making sure everyone gets meaningful gifts in equal proportions of value and appearance. 

We want to be fair and thoughtful in our giving. 

Luke 16 speaks to this although at first appearance we may be slightly confused by the parable Jesus uses. 

In the opening verses of this chapter, He tell a story about a manager who is crooked in his bookkeeping. He is padding the numbers so he can line his own pocket and his wealthy boss finds out. 

The rich man calls in his manager and tells him he is fired and there will be an audit run on all the ledgers. 

The manager quickly runs to his desk and begins to rework people’s bills so that they get a bargain on what they owe for debts incurred. 

His plan is to make some friends by doing favors so he has people to turn to now that he is jobless. 

And the man he has stolen from…commends him. 

He actually praises this thief for being shrewd. 

I don’t know about you, but I struggle over this passage even though I have heard a couple of good sermons explaining it. 

I have to go back and read various translations and then hit the commentaries to get over the whole thing. 

Maybe it is the burnout I have from state and national politics. 

Maybe it is one too many times dealing with internet providers, insurance policies and customer service calls, but I am a little shocked that this was a story Jesus was using to help me understand the Kingdom of God.

Reading Euguene’s translation of the conclusion in The Message helps a lot:

“Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way – BUT FOR WHAT IS RIGHT – using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, not complacently just get by on good behavior.”

Luke 16: 8-9 The Message by Eugene Peterson (emphasis added in bold caps)

I also read the Matthew Henry commentary on this passage and he points out that we have been given resources of time, money and gifts/talents in this life here on earth. 

Like the manager in Jesus’ example, we tend to think of them and act with them as if they are ours. 

But they are not. 

We are not operating with our own wealth but what God has entrusted to each of us according to His will and plan. 

We are STEWARDS of HIS resources. 

So basically as shocked as we are by that unethical manager…he is you and me.  

That man in the story realized he needed to begin using the resources he had been stewarding and make better use of them. 

I heard a sermon that suggested the rich man would also have benefited because his reputation in the community just soared as people would view him as a generous benefactor. 

Interesting, isn’t it? 

Do you know wealthy people who do much good for the places where they live and give generously around the world to help others in need?

They are viewed fondly by all those who they help and are respected by others, even those who may have begrudged them their overflowing bank accounts. 

We serve the God of the Universe who is rich in love, mercy and grace. 

We should be known as generous stewards who share lavishly as we have been given much. 

The rest of Luke 16 is as difficult as the first…much to ponder and study today in these 37 verses my friends <3

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  1. Good analysis.
    I have just finished reading Matthew 25:14-30 with substituting the word “year” for “talent”. Interesting approach to the passage.

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