Devotion on Luke 16:1-15 | Proper 19–Year C

The Gospel reading for today recounts Jesus’ parable of the shrewd manager. Our devotional reading comes from A Year in the New Testament: Meditations for Each Day on the Church Year.

Scripture Readings

Amos 8:4–7

Psalm 113

1 Timothy 2

Luke 16:1–15

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

Is our Lord praising dishonesty? No, He praises shrewdness. He praises the worldly smarts that can sum up a situation and provide a way out of a predicament. The dishonest manager realizes he’s in a world of hurt: he’s going to lose his job, he’s too weak for manual labor, and too proud to hit the streets with a tin cup begging. So he decides what to do to assure that folks are in his debt when he’s sent packing.

He will be very generous with his master’s debtors—cuts this one’s debt in half, that one’s debt by 20 percent. The master is suitably impressed: That sly fox! He feathered his nest nicely after all, didn’t he? Landed on his feet, he did!

Shrewdness is not a bad thing; it’s a downright good thing. Jesus praises it, but laments its lack so often among His own children. “The sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.”

So let’s not be foolish! If you appraise our situation honestly, you will realize that your life in this age is not forever; that the goods you are blessed with in this life are not yours, but the Lord’s; that you can’t take a single one of them with you to the Day of Judgment, but that you can use them to be a blessing to others, others who on that day will be standing all around you.

No, you cannot serve both God and money. But if you serve God (by letting Him give to you His divine forgiveness and eternal life), you will be set free to use your wealth in blessed ways. You can make eternal friends by such charity and kindness. And when the world fails, as it will on the Day of Judgment, your friends will be there to welcome you to share with them the joys of heaven.

The Pharisees, lovers of money, thought this was all a bit much. But Jesus knows that what men praise is often an abomination in the eyes of God. Men praise the shrewdness that garners earthly goods. God praises the generosity that garners friends in this age and in the age to come. May the Lord help us to be generous and kind with His possessions, blessing the poor and needy, for we know this delights His heart!

Hymn of the Day

Hymn of the Day is "Seek Where You May" from Soli Deo Gloria: Eight Distinctive Chorale Preludes for Every Organist, Set 4 by Jacob B. Weber © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Devotional reading adapted from A Year in the New Testament: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year, page 143 © 2010 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Scripture: ESV®.

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