Challenging Truth: Serve God *with* Money; You Can’t Serve God *and* Money

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Jesus tells another parable to make a simple point: “You can’t serve God and Money.” While the point is simple this week’s Gospel Lesson presents a few challenges. The story Jesus tells is of a “shrewd” manager, who uses someone else’s money to get friends for himself before he gets fired for mismanagement. And Jesus says, “do like that guy did.” It all makes sense, though when you realize that we’re the managers, all the money is God’s, and God is telling us to use His money to make eternal friends—which we do by using it for God’s work, instead of using it to serve only ourselves.

This is the 3rd time Jesus has addressed the topic of money as we’re going through Luke’s Gospel. Surprise! There are 3 more such readings coming up! Why did Jesus have so much to say about the topic? Look around you and see what a big deal money and possessions are in our society and how they stand in the way of so many following Jesus. And then be aware that Satan wants to use the same tool to get between us and God.

In our Old Testament Lesson, we hear once again from aged King Solomon, “the Preacher,” Ecclesiastes. Solomon was blessed superabundantly by God with wealth and possessions. Despite God’s gift of extraordinary wisdom, Solomon made money his master for quite a while. He fell for Satan’s trap, and thank God, he lived to tell about it (because God raised him spiritually from his spiritual death as he became old.) Now he knew first hand, once and for all, money is not a worthy master! “The worker’s sleep is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but a rich person’s abundant possessions allow him no sleep. …It is beautiful to eat, to drink, and to look for good in all a person’s hard work which he has done under the sun, during the few days of his life that God has given him, for that is his reward.”

I’ll let Paul speak for himself. In our Epistle Lesson he says to us, “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly cannot take anything out. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be satisfied.” And he advises pastor Timothy, “Instruct those who are rich in this present age not to be arrogant or to put their hope in the uncertainty of riches, but rather in God, who richly supplies us with all things for our enjoyment. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share. In this way they are storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”

Psalm 128 is often sung at weddings. God promises to bless the godly family and household.  

Our sermon will focus on the Gospel lesson under the theme: “Be Faithful with the ‘Little’ You Have.”

This Week’s Lessons:

Ecclesiastes 5:10–20

1 Timothy 6:6–10, 17–19

Luke 16:1–13

Psalm 128

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