God is with us in Word and Sacrament

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity

Luke 16: 1–12


The parable of the unjust steward vexes us. Why would our Lord commend the unjust steward and the sons of this world as He does? It’s because the sons of this world know how to treat something that they think is valuable. They love money and the earthly comforts that come with it. They jump to get the job with higher pay, better benefits, or greater prestige.

Yet all of this, as we know, will fade and wear out. And so, Jesus does not commend the sons of this world for what they love. He commends them for how zealously they love and the lengths they will go to attain it.

Mimic their zeal, but do not become a son of this world. Do not be drawn away by the love of money. The sons of this world are set for destruction, but at least they pursue it with vigor. They know what they want, and they go after it.

We, on the other hand, as Christians, desire the joy of eternal dwellings, but sometimes you would hardly know it. And so, we are accused of lacking zeal for the kingdom of God. For we have not pursued what we supposedly value with the same zeal that the sons of this world pursue what they value. We don’t seek fellowship with the Father like the sons of this world seek the comfort that money provides. We don’t put on purity with the enthusiasm that the sons of this world put on the latest fashions. We don’t invest in the work of the Church, our very salvation, with the same zeal that the sons of this world invest in the markets.

Don’t get sucked into pursing the love of money and what it provides, but what money you do have, use for good works. Use money and possessions, but don’t allow them to use and possess you. God in His grace and mercy gives you many things. You are stewards over what He gives into your hands. You control them. Don’t let them control you. Use what you have been given to serve your neighbor, those who are part of your family, your community, and your church.

Get what you need to eat and drink; a home to shelter your family, and clothes that you need. But don’t squander. Don’t waste your excess on things that don’t serve you and your neighbor. Make friends with it instead. Give it to those in need. In so doing, you show mercy. And in showing mercy, you give a picture of God’s mercy to you in Jesus Christ. You imitate the loving-kindness and mercy that God has given you to others. By faith, trusting in the promise that God will never leave you or forsake you and will provide everything that you need, you demonstrate what is of the highest value to you: the eternal dwellings of heaven. Thus, on the last day, Christ will receive you into them.

For Christ is the one son of light who is the most zealous, the most single-minded. He gives out the possessions of His Father with wanton abandon, not in wastefulness, but for your benefit. For these can’t be wasted. They never run out. And so He lavishes the grace and mercy of God upon you without price, without charging you a cent, without keeping any books, without demanding any accounting of you. Christ takes all that belongs to the Father and gives it to you in abundance. And the treasures He gives never run out, never fade away, but are stored where moth and rust cannot destroy. They are eternal. They never end.

So better than mimicking the zeal of the sons of this world. Trusting in Christ, imitate His zeal and His works. For He gives out not only earthly treasures, but also heavenly ones. Amen.


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