September 18, 2022: 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Let us pray: Dear Savior,  today we celebrate the eternal wealth that You have given to us, namely the forgiveness of all sins, eternal life, and peace between You and us.  May we learn by Your Word of truth to employ those riches in every way possible in order to be faithful managers of such wealth and thereby win souls for Your glory.  Amen


TEXT:  Luke 16: 1-13

Dearly Beloved in Christ: 

          The fixer.  Every community has one.  And everyone soon learns who they are.  Every office has someone who can cut through red tape to get things done.  Each city has someone who you can turn to in order to grease the skids for building permits.  Every family has at least one member who always seems to solve relationship problems.  Sometimes we admire such people—especially when they employ their skills in an ethical and honest manner.  But most of the time we don’t want to know exactly what they do since we’re 90% sure they have cut corners.  The bottom line is: we all grudgingly admire such people because we benefit from the results they achieve. Fixers are “doers” and not just “talkers.”

          In today’s lesson, Jesus speaks about such a “fixer.”  He was the business manager for a very wealthy man.  He was in charge of all that vast wealth and had the power of attorney to sign every contract.  So far, so good.  But, but there was a maggot in this well-run  enterprise.  This fixer wasn’t honest.  He was a thief who siphoned off a portion of that wealth and/or misused company money to better himself.  The rich owner found out about this breach of trust and called a meeting. 

          The fixer knows he’s been found out.  You can well imagine that someone he stepped on too hard got word back to the owner.  He also knows he’s going to be fired, or worse.  “What shall I do now?  My master is taking away my job.  I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg—I know what I’ll do so that when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.”  You see he still has legal power of attorney.  Maybe, maybe he can “fix” his situation?  And he does.  He calls in various debtors, presents them with their contract and then has them write it down.  Then he affixes his legal signature and voila!  The problem is “fixed” and his future is secure.  Yes, he connived.  Yes, he jobbed the system.  Yes, what he did was unethical.  Yes, he took advantage of a loophole.  He used his worldly wisdom to create a “win” for himself out of a certain defeat.


          “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly.  For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”

          Note well that the owner does not countenance theft.  Is he happy that he’s now lost a portion of his wealth?  No.  However, the owner is wise enough to recognize this fixer’s ability to take care of himself and he even gives voice to it. 

          Well, this is a parable, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.  So, now comes the direct application to you and me, who are children of God’s light.  “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”  

          You and I have been given two distinct types of wealth.  First, we have our money and earthly property.  Second, we possess heavenly riches through faith in Jesus Christ.  So I guess you could say: Christians are doubly rich!  Now, which one reigns in your life?  Which is more important to you?  Which type of wealth do you value more highly?  Since we’re all natural born sinners, the temptation is to let human wealth run our lives and control our hearts and to view Godly riches as a nice afterthought.  To counteract such thinking, Christ ends this whole discussion by bluntly stating: “No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money.”  That being said, why would Christ tell His followers: “use worldly wealth (money) to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”? 


          Jesus knows the human heart.  He knows that Christians aren’t very adept at being “fixers.”  He knows that often we’re lazy about getting too involved with others because our focus is on eternal life and this world isn’t the be-all and end-all of our existence.  And yet, shouldn’t believers employ everything in their possession and use all their human skills for God’s glory?  Shouldn’t we actively use our worldly wealth, our abilities and passion to impact the lost souls we come into contact with?  Shouldn’t we be just as shrewd as the world in winning souls for Christ and thereby help create an automatic welcoming party for us when we enter heaven?  Obviously, we don’t want to sin while doing so, like this fixer did.  But, shouldn’t we admire his cunning and zeal?  And shouldn’t we be just as cunning and zealous when it comes to letting Christ’s light shine into sin-blackened hearts? 

          Every one admires and is a bit envious of some billionaire who gives his money away to help hurting people.  Well, think about Jesus.  God’s Son gave His life away to save hurting people.  He died on a cross and paid for all sins thereby winning for everyone peace with God Almighty.  Jesus holds out this forgiveness to all.  He offers it to everyone.  Yes, some, like us, gladly receive it via faith.  Others reject it.  But that doesn’t change the fact that His loving, generous heart is beyond compare. 

          Obviously, Jesus is the ultimate “Fixer” because His infinitely valuable blood fixed our relationship with God.  So, LEARN FROM THE “FIXER” HOW TO HANDLE REAL WEALTH!  And here are His final words of guidance as to how to do so.  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” 

          Lest you start dwelling on your failures and inability to be zealous for the Lord in all you do and deduce from it that He’ll somehow abandon or reject you, start actively living this passage where Christ says: “Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.”  Let’s all take back the title: “The fixer” and turn it into a name that people will revere and God will be proud of.  Amen


Pastor Thomas H. Fox

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