If it sounds outrageous, then it sounds like Jesus! “Love your enemy.” “Forgive seventy times seven…” “Sell all your possessions and give them to the poor.” This time it is: “make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth…”. What?! Which is then quickly followed by: “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much.” So confusing!
Don’t be discouraged. This is one of the most perplexing passages in the Bible. Is it possible Jesus is shaking us awake, shouting: “Stop wasting your opportunities! Being a faithful, trusting disciple means not being oblivious, lazy and complacent.”
Beginning of the meeting
Read the reflection above. Quiet yourself. Become more aware of God’s presence. Open yourself to the Spirit’s prompting as you read or hear the following passage.
LUKE 16:1-13 Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2 So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” 3 Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” 6 He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” 7 Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” 8 And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. 10 ‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’
Reflect on these questions for a few moments in silence and then turn to another person and discuss.
List your positive advantages: your gifts, abilities and undeserved benefits.
List your church’s positive advantages: strengths, assets and benefits.
After a few minutes of discussion and reflection, stop for a moment of quiet and read this prayer.
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ. Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596)
Reflect on the questions below, alone and in your group.
Where are you feeling challenged by this passage and prayer? What does God have to say to you and your church right now?
End of the meeting
Read the passage once again and ask how God’s Word has been known in your time together.