Amos 8:4-7 PS 113:1-2,4-8 1Tim 2:1-8 Luke 16:1-13
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the parable of the steward who has mishandled his master’s accounts, and is let go because of it. In an effort to ensure his own future well-being in the future, he goes to the people who owe his master goods and money to cut them deals and secure their loyalty and gratitude – like a scene from The Godfather, storing up favors to be called in another day.
It is easy to criticize this man from long ago, and say “If only he had put the same cleverness and industry into the honest management of his master’s accounts, he would not have been worried about the abrupt loss of his job and income,” but then we would miss the point.
What if instead of being honest in his work to secure his employment, he had put the same energy and work into following the laws of God? If he had worked to be not just an honest employee but an honest man, his job would have been just as secure, but so too would be his character and his soul.
I suppose that is what Christ meant when he said you couldn’t serve both God and mammon. For a long time, I thought that mammon referred only to money, but I don’t think that it does. I think it refers to all of the things that the world calls success. You cannot be wise and clever in the ways of the world, succeeding at all costs, and also serve the interests of Heaven. You have to choose whether to use all of your tricks and cleverness to succeed, or to walk on the narrow pathway of God. You can’t do both.