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East Sparta Christian Church
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Get Your Own Gutensite
January 03
new year


The New Year is upon us again! Welcome to 2013. Have you made your New Year’s resolution yet? If not, let me share mine with you, like every year I try to take a resolution from the Bible. This year it comes from Luke16:1-13. It is the story of a man known only to us as the “Unjust Steward.” The story opens when the unjust steward is called before his master to be notified that he is being fired. The master accuses him of mismanaging his property and
so he is to be let go after a few days to set his affairs in order. The unjust steward doesn’t know what to do. He thinks he is either too old or too lazy to earn his bread through physical labor and he is too proud to beg. And then in verse 4 he has an idea- in the King James he says “I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.” At that moment he made a resolution that if he had already lost favor with his master, he would use his last few days as asteward to gain favor those who owed his master money.

The way he went about this was to call in men who were behind on paying his master what they owed and to propose a settlement. A man who owed 100 ‘measures’ of olive oil was allowed to call the debt cleared by paying only fifty. A man who owed 100 ‘measures’ of wheat got by with only paying 80. And so on. The unjust steward was hoping that by investing what little time he had wisely he could secure a more comfortable future for himself by wining friends who could take care of him when he was fired.

At this point I would be tempted to say that the moral of the story is that when you fire a steward, don’t give him a few days to really mess up your books before he leaves. But, that is not the point Jesus is making. In fact Jesus ends the story by telling us that the unjust steward is praised by his master and that we, as Christians should act a little bit more like the
unjust steward. I don’t know about you, but that statement kind of stops me in my tracks. The unjust steward is a liar and a cheat who behaved dishonorably for his own benefit. Why would God want us to be like that?

The short answer is that God would, of course, not want us to be liars and cheats- the whole rest of the Bible tells us so. What he does want us to emulate in the story of the unjust steward is a desire to spend our current wealth on future gain. In most parables the ‘master’ represents God, but in this one I think the master represents this present world. Just like the
steward we all find ourselves in this present world and in a certain amount of trouble. Everyone has sinned and one day must be called to account for that sin. When the steward finally understood that that was the situation he found himself in, he immediately started planning for a different life in the future. And he made his plans for the future by doing good for other people.

It is a difficult parable, but here is the final, and true, moral of the story: if you want to be happy here- spend your money on yourself. If you want to know true happiness in heaven-
spend your money on someone else. And the same is true of other commodities as well- time, effort, wisdom, and experience. You can horde them for your benefit or you can spend them for the wellbeing and advancement of others.

Having said that, my resolution this year is “to steward my worldly resources in way that better serves the needs of others above my own,and acts as an invitation to the kingdom, rather than an obstacle.”

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