A Tale of Two Masters

Passage:Luke 16:1-14

Preacher: Ben Phillips

In today's Gospel reading we come across the Parable of the Shrewd Manager, which is, in all honesty, one of the stranger parables of Jesus. It comes immediately on the heels of the well known and beloved Parable of the Prodigal Son (as well as the Parables of the Lost Coin and Lost Sheep). In this parable Jesus seems to be commending dishonest behavior, specifically the embezzlement and sneaky actions of a dishonest property manager. The explanations he gives in the verses that follow are also somewhat difficult to figure out. However, the final portion of his teaching is crystal clear: you can not serve both God and Money. Understanding this passage as a whole, and the parable in particular, requires us to move through it in layers, keeping the final point in view, but allowing Jesus to subtly work towards it. In the end we are confronted with our own subscription to the dishonest ways of the world and must turn to the one who is truly the just and good manager and overseer of God's Kingdom, Jesus himself.