Readings: September 22, 2013, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings from the Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
- Amos 8:4-8
Listen to this, you who walk all over the weak, you who treat poor people as less than nothing,
Who say, Whens my next paycheck coming so I can go out and live it up?
How long till the weekend when I can go out and have a good time?
Who give little and take much, and never do an honest days work.
You exploit the poor, using them and then, when theyre used up, you discard them.
God swears against the arrogance of Jacob: Im keeping track of their every last sin.
- 1 Timothy 2:1-8
Simple Faith and Plain Truth
Beloved: The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.
He wants not only us but /everyone/ saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth weve learned: that theres one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and usJesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.
Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to praynot shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God.
- Luke 16:1-13
The Story of the Crooked Manager
Jesus said to his disciples, There was once a rich man who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running up huge personal expenses. So he called him in and said, Whats this I hear about you? Youre fired. And I want a complete audit of your books.
The manager said to himself, What am I going to do? Ive lost my job as manager. Im not strong enough for a laboring job, and Im too proud to beg. . . . Ah, Ive got a plan. Heres what Ill do . . . then when Im turned out into the street, people will take me into their houses.
Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He said to the first, How much do you owe my master?
He replied, A hundred jugs of olive oil.
The manager said, Here, take your bill, sit down herequick nowwrite fifty.
To the next he said, And you, what do you owe?
He answered, A hundred sacks of wheat.
He said, Take your bill, write in eighty.
Now heres 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 waybut for what is /right/using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so youll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.
God Sees Behind Appearances
Jesus went on to make these comments:
If youre honest in small things, youll be honest in big things; If youre a crook in small things, youll be a crook in big things. If youre not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store?
No worker can serve two bosses: Hell either hate the first and love the second Or adore the first and despise the second. You cant serve both God and the Bank.