Between Sundays for Week of September 19, 2022
In Sunday’s gospel, Jesus tells a confusing parable to the Pharisees, whom he later calls “lovers of money.” Rather than encouraging us to follow the lead of the dishonest manager, Pastor Hoffman suggested in her sermon that perhaps Jesus tells this story instead to remind the Pharisees – and us – that what we do with what has been entrusted to us matters.
It is all too easy to believe that money – and the stuff it can buy – could possibly be enough to secure our future. Sadly, to some extent, that is true. Having financial resources matters. It matters for what kind of opportunities are open to you, where you can live, what kind of medical care you receive, what kind of education is available. But that’s part of why it’s so tempting to turn money into our god as though money alone can provide whatever we need.
Martin Luther writes about this danger in the Large Catechism (in his explanation of the first of the Ten Commandments): “Many a person thinks he has God and everything he needs when he has money and property, in them he trusts and of them he boasts so stubbornly and securely that he cares for no one.”
Our money and possessions become idols, the object of our worship, when they become more important to us than caring about other people.
We can’t opt out of the material world altogether. We need food, shelter, clothing, and more. As a congregation, we have valuable resources together – including our building and financial reserves. What we do with these resources – that which has been entrusted to us – matters. As we near the end of the fiscal year, Council is developing a spending plan for the new year (which the congregation will vote on at the annual meeting on October 30). Hold our leaders in prayer, that our decisions and recommendations reflect where we place our trust and the faith we profess in Jesus Christ. May we use the resources entrusted to us to share God’s love far beyond ourselves to all who need to experience it.
Jesus tells a confusing parable, made even more confusing if we interpret it as instructions for faithful living. But the bottom line is that what we do with what has been entrusted to us matters. We can’t completely extricate ourselves from the stuff of life – money and property and possessions. Instead, following Jesus means that we use what we have to serve God instead of serving what we have as though it is our god.
Concerned that the media often portrays only one version of Christianity, clergy in Greece, NY are speaking up about their commitments of faith and defining what being Christian means to them and their churches. Do you see your values and commitments as a Christian reflected in the media?