Welcome to Wondering Wednesday. You are encouraged to use this as personal devotion and reflection. You are encouraged to hop on the church Facebook page or Instagram page and wonder with others.
Read…Spend some time with this parable: Luke 16:1-13The parable of the dishonest steward is perhaps the most confusing we encounter in the Gospels.  This parable invites us to reflect on our relationship with our material resources, through the characters of the wealthy master and the dishonest manager. Although not explicitly stated, we can imagine that the wealthy master may be using his wealth and position to exploit the illiterate masses, and that the dishonest manager has been swindling the master for personal gain. Here are two people who do not have healthy relationships with money! Let’s  explore the actions of the dishonest manager a little bit more.  The manager’s devotion to money at the expense of relationships has led to his imminent downfall. He cannot undo what has already been done. He chooses to seek right relationship with his neighbors, by reducing the debt they owe. He seeks reconciliation with his employer, whose trust he has betrayed, by collecting debt owed, and restoring his employer’s honor. Perhaps his path toward forgiveness and reconciliation earns him the unexpected commendation of his master. Our relationship with money is fraught. We need it to survive. Sadly, it is often used as a tool of oppression and corruption. Disagreements over its use can fracture relationships.  The desire to pursue worldly goods  can become all consuming. Rather than using money and loving people, we get it backwards: loving money and using people (St. Augustine).The practice of Christian stewardship can help us reimagine our relationship with money. As stewards, we are charged with the care of things that do not belong to us. Acknowledging God as the source of all that we have, we are called to right relationship with our material wealth as a tool for good rather than the object of admiration. The frame of reference that “our money isn’t really ours” helps to put some healthy distance between us and our money. Jesus leaves us with this thought. “If you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? You cannot serve God and wealth.”Wonder …How might you answer the questions Jesus poses in the Luke parable?Pray…Holy God,open my heart and mind.Help me to be a good steward.Amen.
Written by Sharon Pilmer is a retired pediatric anesthesiologist and improvement coach for healthcare.She is a member of St. Paul’s, Oakland, CA, where she leads Stewardship and sings in the choir. From The Episcopal Network for Stewardship
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