What shall I Do?

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What shall I Do?
Text: Luke 16:1-13
Occasion: Graduation
Audience: Adults
Theological Tradition: Wesleyan
Topic: Giving
Author: George Lyons


Direction

What we have is really God's and is to be used wisely to further God's work.

How to Get There

  • The story of the “corrupt manager” is not really what most people think of when they think of graduation. Instead of limitless options, he had next to none.
  • This manager had to stay on his boss's good graces, and make money, but he also was in direct contact with the people being exploited and in need of help. He was a target from both sides.
  • The manager has nothing recorded in his defense, perhaps he knew that nothing he said would change the boss's mind.
  • This manager did not have a lot of options, in fact he was being fired and completely out of options. With a charge of corruption over his head he couldn't exactly get another job.
  • The only thing he could think of was to get on the good side of someone, so he slashed prices forgiving over 3 years wages for each of the debters. He put the people in his debt, by making them less in his master's debt. It helped him, but at the master's expense.
  • And to make things even more confusing the master commends him for doing this, for costing him money.
    • Surely we aren't supposed to emulate this manager, or the master, are we?
    • And this parable comes right before the parable of the prodigal son. What if the two parables are connected? That we have two pictures of a God who defied people's expectations and understanding through forgiving in extraordinary ways?
  • After the parable, Jesus says we need to use our worldly wealth to make friends so that when it is gone we will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. In other words, if a bad man can even use money to its best effect, then can't God's people manage to use the resources he gives them to further God's cause and their own eternal good?
  • Money for a believer is not an end in itself, money is to be used. It is a means to an end. And as a believer it is a means to do as much good as possible now so that when it is all gone we can be welcomed into heaven with open arms.
  • As believers we don't talk a lot about money, but we should. Money is not evil, it is the love of money that is the root of evil. John Wesley had a saying, “gain all you can, save all you can, so you can give all you can.”
  • The money that the manager gave was not his, but his master's and that is the point. What we have is not ours, it is God's. We are not masters of our possessions, but managers.
  • As you begin your life, consider, have you been wasting God's possessions that you are in charge of? (then 10-13)

This message was originally written by Dr. George Lyons, converted to this format by Brian M.

Things to Watch For

  • This is a difficult parable, and one that can easily be twisted to mean we need to be making all the money we can by every means possible, or what we can bribe our way to heaven. Neither of which is true.
  • Be very careful not to make this just about money. Money isn't even mentioned in the parable. It is a barter economy and this is about whatever resources they had and needed, not about money.
  • We know next to nothing about the manager's motives or agenda so be careful about painting him in either a positive or negative light. We just know that the master thought it was good that he forgave so much debt.
    • The passage does not say that the manager was truly corrupt, just that he was accused of wasting possessions. It could have been false rumors, or it could have been true, we don't know. In fact, he could have been wasting the boss's money by giving it away, we don't know.
    • We don't know a lot about why he did what he did. Did he regularly waste his master's stuff like this? Was he trying one last effort to make things right and these were horrible loans to begin with?

Other Ideas that use this Topic:

 DirectionCategory
Gifts for JesusChrist is the center of Christmas, and the reason we give.Experiential Learning
Hole-ee-nessAn offering box is passed and almost everything gets put inside, including a person. One character learns that tithing is the beginning of giving to God, not the end.Dramas