Luke 16:1-13 The parable of the dishonest manager is a tricky one. I suppose that parables aren’t supposed to be too straight-forward. After all, Jesus told parables knowing that some would understand them and that others would miss the point. Sometimes Jesus’ parables are followed by several verses of explanation or interpretation. His disciples didn’t always get the point right away either, or perhaps the Gospel writers wanted to make sure that those who read the parables years later would understand what Jesus was getting at. As you know, a parable is a story that has two levels of meaning. On one level, today’s parable is about a dishonest manager who comes up with a sneaky plan to take care of his financial needs after he loses his job for squandering his master’s money. On another level, the story is about something else. But with this particular parable, that “something else” is not immediately obvious. Let’s just review the parable briefly. Jesus tells his disciples that there is a rich man who had a manager. It seems that the manager is taking care of the rich man’s property. He rents out land to a variety of people and has them pay with a portion of what the land produces, whether grain or oil. But the rich man finds out that the manager is “squandering his property.” Maybe he’s not passing on all the payments from the tenants. Maybe he’s taking a larger commission for himself than was agreed upon. Maybe … Read more »
“Take Hold of Eternal Life” 1 Timothy 6:6-19 Psalm 91 Luke 16:19-31 Not long ago, I read about a period in Christian history in which many people were waiting until very late in life before they were baptized. Whereas many Churches today baptize infants and young children, and others ask people to wait until they are young adults and ready to make a conscious choice in accepting the lifetime commitment to following Jesus, there was a time around the 3rd – 4th centuries, following the period of Christian persecution, when many Christians would not be baptized until the end of their life – sometimes even receiving the Sacrament on their death beds. One of the rationales for delaying baptism was the fear that after baptism they might sin again. Though they had been washed spiritually clean by their baptism, they weren’t sure what would happen if they made a serious mistake afterwards. Would God forgive them again? They weren’t sure, and so the baptism needed to be just before death so that they would be pure and holy at the end of their lives, and ready to be welcomed into heaven. Another reason for putting off baptism until old age may have been that living the Christian life seemed onerous and stifling. Putting off baptism meant that people could live how they wanted – enjoying all the pleasures they desired – then repent and be baptized later, thus securing their comfort and joy in the afterlife as well. The rich … Read more »
St. Andrew’s Stewardship Committee led the worship service this morning, using resources about Presbyterians Sharing written by the Rev. Tom Billard. Patti Polowick and Gerry Kraay presented the sermon. You can find these resources on the website of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Listen to this Sermon Introduction to Presbyterians Sharing Sunday: Today we celebrate the mission and ministry we do together through Presbyterians Sharing. Together, as Presbyterians across Canada, we proclaim the good news of the gospel in Canada and around the world. Together we help develop innovative ministries for children and youth. We equip leaders – lay and clergy – to do effective ministry. We support, encourage and enrich congregations in the areas of worship, evangelism, mission, Christian education, stewardship, planned giving, leadership, and congregational development and renewal. We work with international mission partners to share the hope and grace of God. We send mission staff, short term volunteers and grants to support and accompany these partners in leadership development, Bible translation, Christian education, theological education, and evangelism. We support new church development and help congregations renew and grow their ministries. By supporting Presbyterians Sharing, we are participating in the life-giving mission of God.