This past Sunday we examined the parable of the shrewd manager (steward), and even after reading the commentaries and preaching on the text, I am still not sure what Jesus was teaching with this story. I do know talk of money, especially when it involves wheeling and dealing makes some folks in church uncomfortable.
I wonder if even those of us who are good and faithful “stewards” don’t do some wheeling and dealing today. I know I do. As a pastor, I get a tax break on housing, so of course I put as much of my effective salary toward housing as I possibly can. Some very generous givers to the church give out of their investment accounts and get tax advantages. Some folks buy into Joel Osteen’s prosperity gospel and give expecting to “prosper” as a result of their giving.
I suspect, maybe we are ALL Shrewd stewards. I guess if given a choice between being shrewd or wise, I would choose wise. We have this idea that not all shrewd individuals are necessarily HONEST.
And yet, where would the church be without successful members who have done well financially and in turn have become generous supporters of our ministry.
We all have different gifts but like the shrewd steward in our parable, some us are just coasting, getting along, falling short of our potential. The shrewd steward realized time was running out, so he used the time he had left to make the most of his situation.
Our church has been blessed this year and we have a generous congregation. We have many wise individuals in our midst, but I suspect we also have folks who are gifted with time, talent and financial resources who like the steward in our story have just been “coasting” up to now. Imagine how much more ministry we could do if these folks had a wakeup call and starting USING their resources for ministry.
So if talk of money bothers you, think in terms of time. How much TIME do you have left? How will you use this most valuable of all assets?
It is a joy to be your pastor.
P.S. Thank you for the many birthday cards, gifts and expressions of kindness.