Maria and I used to watch science fiction show called, “Crusade.” It was about people searching the universe for the cure for a plague that was sent against Earth. In the opening to the show, there is voice over which asks a series of questions. One of those questions is, “Who do you serve?” This is a marvelous question for us. Though I like the question stated in this fashion: Whom do you serve?
As a church, maybe we can ask: Whom do we serve? This question gets us in the same boat. It also helps us to find an answer together. For we know how it is to live on our own. We can live on our own quite well. It is the being church together which takes forgiveness and time. Since Jesus was speaking to the disciples our focus is on discovering whom we serve.
Knowing that we serve someone or something is crucial for our lives. In the “Crusade” series, the people were to serve Earth. They got distracted along the way. By forgetting whom they served, the people on the Crusade could have caused great harm to Earth. When we get distracted along the way, we too can cause great harm. The harm we could cause ourselves and others could be tremendous. Discovering why Jesus used the parable about the dishonest manager helps us from being distracted in serving.
A. What is Jesus doing? (16:1-8)
1. Jesus spoke to the disciples (we are part of that number!)
2. Rich man
3. A manager
a. “My manager”
b. Representative for the rich man – what he does reflects on the rich man
c. It is because of his honor that the rich man wants to get rid of the manager
4. How did the manager act shrewdly?
a. He saved the honor of the rich man
b. He saved his own honor
c. The rich man is the one who knows what happened!
d. The manager only thought it would be good for himself to cut the deals with the debtors; he didn’t actually tell them his reasoning!
5. How can we act shrewdly? How can we bring honor to God and to our own lives?
6. Whom do you serve? We would do well to remember that our activities reflect on God. If we are going to serve God, then let us serve God. Anything that reflects back on God from us has to be good. Does this mean we live solitary lives, proving that we are better than other people? I don’t think that is what Jesus is telling us to do.
B. What is Jesus telling us to do? (16:9)
1. We can have friends!
a. Our friends will be all sorts of people
b. Our lives reflect honor to God – in spite and despite who our friends are
2. But we still have a rich man to serve
3. Whom do you serve? Jesus’ death and resurrection brought God’s forgiveness to us. As we forgive other people, we are demonstrating who we are serving. No matter whom we are with or what they have done, we continue to make decisions that show how good God is. That is, if we have decided to serve God.
C. We have to decide whom we are going to serve (16:10-13)
1. We figure out whether we are faithful or dishonest
2. What are the true riches Jesus mentions?
3. Who will give us what is our own?
4. Mammon/wealth or God
a. Serve wealth?
b. Serve God?
5. Whom do you serve? Whom do we serve? If we are placing wealth above anything else, then we are serving wealth. If we are placing God above anything else, then we are serving God. Individually, we determine if we are going to serve God. As a church, we determine if we are going to serve God. When we follow through with serving God, then God will give us true riches. God is faithful. When we demonstrate our faithfulness to God, then God gives us even more of his faithfulness, true riches!
Whom do we serve? Our living faithful to God shows God that we honor him. This honoring God is our task here on this planet. Whenever we stray from honoring God, I pray that the Holy Spirit will remind us to serve God.
Even while Jesus was with his disciples he had to remind them about being his disciples. We too get reminded about being Jesus’ disciples.
Are we being faithful to God? Then continue acting shrewdly so people know how good God is.
Are we being unfaithful to God? Then let’s figure out how we can serve God. After all, God is the one who bought us with the precious blood of Jesus.