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What Money Can't Buy

You cannot serve God and money
Luke 16:1-13 or 16:10-13

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Sermon Week Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 16:13


Two business competitors argued at length about certain shady business practices. Finally, one said to the other, "Let's be clear about one thing. There are lots of ways to make money but there is only one honest way." "What way is that?" the second man asked. "Just as I suspected, you don't know," the first man replied.

A company treasurer had called a meeting of the sales staff because she detected a pattern of fraud in their expense reports. "I'll begin with our East Coast representative," she said. "It seems clear that you've been overcharging the company for your meals. Tell me, how did you manage to spend sixty-four dollars a day for food in New York City?" To which the East Coast representative replied, "Easy! I skipped breakfast!"

Voltaire said of his own generation, "When it comes to a question of money, everybody is of the same religion." Yet truer words were never spoken about our generation, in which almost anything goes as long as it makes money for somebody.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus said to the power brokers of His time, "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Luke tells us that "The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at Him"). As the people of a generation which has transformed "greed" from vice into virtue, are we scoffing at Jesus' warning?

In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus tells a parable to those money-loving Pharisees. A steward employed by a rich man is accused of squandering his boss's assets. The dishonest steward realizes he is about to be fired. What to do? A job digging ditches might be available, but he has no taste for manual labor. And he can't see himself becoming a common beggar, so he figures out a clever but thoroughly fraudulent scheme. While he still holds his job, he will go to some of the people who owe his master money, [...]

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