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Our texts this week come from Amos 8 and Luke 16. The prophet (Amos) tells us that God will no longer tolerate corrupt business practice or the oppression of the poor. In Luke 16, we have an interesting parable with three interesting statements:
- The first is that “the people of this age are more shrewd than the children of light. But, it almost sounds as though it is a compliment to the children of this age.
- Next is “those who are faithful in little will be faithful in much”.
- And three, “you can not serve two masters”.
First, when we hear ‘shrewd’ we often think of it in a negative condensation, but it means to think, to think out, thoughtfulness, [and] to consider.
We have two images that I want to share separately and then bring together for the take away.
The first (image) is, I am in the process of training my dog, Highlander. When it comes to people and cats, he is great. But when it comes to other dogs, he gets insanely aggressive. So, I have been carrying treats with me and saying “focus” and the idea behind that is to break his focus from the other dog to return that focus to me as his master.
The next (image) is that I often, jokingly, say to my mother ‘dang you for raising me to be a responsible adult’. Because, the truth is when we’re small we have very few things we’re responsible for and as we show that we are able to hold that responsibility, that we can be responsible and complete those tasks, more are given to us. Those that are responsible and faithful in little will be responsible and faithful in much.
I often hear of scams or dishonest ways of earning your pay and often times when I hear of the process people went through, I can’t image that much thought and time, energy and focus. And often question, wouldn’t it simply be easier to earn your pay from a honest job. I think this is what Jesus is getting at.
What if we took that same level of thought, and energy, and focus to not serve our own needs but to serve our master, God?
What if we took that same level of thought, and energy, and focus and spent it on our own words? on our own actions? on our own spiritual and faith formation?
What if we took that and put it towards our responsibilities to bring about God’s kingdom on our earth now?
The question is:
Where does your thought, energy, and focus go?
What master are you serving?
My prayer is that we are all serving God and that we take seriously our responsibilities to participate in God’s kingdom, here and now. [Amen]
That is my prayer. That is my take away point. Amen.
The Scriptures were Amos 8: 4-7 and Luke 16: 1-13.
The Sermon was originally preached on 18 September 2016.