“Ultimate Matters” (Kayla McClurg Sermon)

For Sunday, September 22, 2013 – Luke 16:1-13

On the brink of losing everything, we see what we really have. We take account of the resources entrusted to us. In the end, what will matter? What will we have to show for ourselves? Are we managing well or squandering the wealth we have been given?

My brother, right now, is dying of bone cancer. From a place of physical strength and independence, he has slipped quickly into utter weakness. Against the barren backdrop of these days, I feel an urgency for what really matters and what does not. What does it mean to steward this property we’ve been given, this one and only life?

Jesus tells a story of a rich landowner who had given authority over his property to a manager, who subsequently squandered the wealth and was brought to account. (Have I yielded the authority over my life to other managers? Have I squandered the riches I’ve been given?) While he still could, the manager turned to others who also were indebted to the rich man and cut new deals with them, letting them owe less than before, thus endearing himself to them in the hope that they would take him in once he was evicted from the master’s property. In other words, he cheated and connived for his own benefit. And Jesus says he is to be commended for his shrewd action!

What are we to learn from this story? Aren’t we supposed to follow the rules, do the honest thing, the morally responsible thing, always and only? Here we are given another door by which to enter God’s house, a small, hidden door out back that requires crawling through on our knees. It causes me to wonder—would I be too proud for the degradation of this door, the door of weakness and spiritual poverty? (As the manager says, “I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.” What a fix he is in!)

Will I lower myself for the sake of what ultimately matters, even to the point of being called shrewd, even sneaking in the back way, empty of other options? Or will I insist on a final report saying how decent and appropriate and careful I have been, how I have managed God’s property just fine … except for missing out on the one thing that matters …. except for taking the risk of a life that is really life.

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