(Part 107)


November 7, 2014

Today’s gospel:  Luke 16:1-8

Jesus tells us the parable of the dishonest steward. This parable is about us as well. We are stewards according to God’s call. We have been entrusted with His divine work on earth. In doing so, He has entrusted us with the necessary gifts and empowerment to do the work. How have we performed as stewards?

The dishonest steward, entrusted with his master’s property, had been adding exorbitant amounts for himself to what debtors owed his master. To one, he had doubled the actual amount and charged “one hundred measures of olive oil” (v.6). To another who was charged for “one hundred kors of wheat,” he had overcharged by 25% (v.7).

Now we have been entrusted with God’s work. But do we put in our own personal interest and advantage? All the glory should belong to God, but do we also look for a bit of glory ourselves, as well as power, position and prestige? Those we evangelize and bring back to God are to be brought back to the Church, but do we insist on bringing them into our community as well, to increase our numbers?

In so doing, we affect negatively the very work of God. When we look to power and position rather than just humbly serving without reference to self, do we force God to thwart our efforts so as to humble us? When we insist on bringing those we evangelize into our community rather than just being brought back to God and to the Church, do we limit the larger work that God wants to do in and through us? God is about a mighty work, and He has decided to use us as His human instruments, but our self-referential add-ons negate the power and effectiveness that He intends.

Are we then “squandering his property” (v.1)? Do we need to be summoned by God and told, “What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.” (v.2). Before that happens, let us examine ourselves. Are we totally dedicated to God’s work? Do we use all the gifts and resources He has given us for this work? Are we looking only to His interests, and not in any way to our own?

We inevitably will find that we have not been totally proper stewards. We may even have been dishonest, appropriating for ourselves the recognition, honor and benefits that should have been for God alone. We must then ask, “What shall I do?” (v.3a). We must review our actions, postures and priorities, and determine to purge these of what is just for personal benefit. What should be left are only those aspects that truly promote the Kingdom of God, advance the work of evangelization, and give honor and glory to God.

“And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.” (v.8).

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