Faithfully Serve God
By Jim Poirier, Presiding Bishopric
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property…Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?” —Luke 16:1, 10–12 NRSV
In the parable of the dishonest manager, the master discovers the manager of his holdings had been wasteful and asks him for an accounting. When the manager foresees possible punishment, he shrewdly develops a plan to reduce the debts of those who owe his master money. He does this to win their favor if the master releases him from his duties.
This raises some interesting scenarios. Was he cheating the master by reducing the debts owed him? Was he simply reducing the debt by the interest? Was he reducing the debt by his commission? Whatever the reason, the master, upon hearing of the manager’s resourcefulness, praised him. He extended grace when perhaps the manager did not deserve grace. Resourcefulness in managing what the master entrusts to us, combined with our focus on mission, will advance the cause of the kingdom.
Jesus tells his hearers to cast caution aside, seize the moment of opportunity, and make his mission a priority. If we look at those who are successful in business, we see likenesses. The mission of their businesses is most important. They direct all they do to fulfill their mission—sometimes ethically, other times not. They dedicate themselves to mission.
Traveling with the field apostle in Honduras we came on farmers who rented land from dishonest landowners. Landowners did not follow proper land management. They forced farmers who could not afford their own land to grow crops on over-farmed, over-fertilized, and poorly irrigated land. Crops resulted in lower yields.
World Accord and its Honduran partner, Rural Reconstruction Program, created pools of funds for microloans. Groups of farmers could access these funds and buy their own land. They formed cooperatives. They reclaimed the land, using successful local farming techniques. Together, they resourcefully managed the land. When they paid their loans, new farm cooperatives were created for other farmers. Here are two types of managers, both successful. By practicing Enduring Principles of Sacredness of Creation, Worth of All Persons, Responsible Choices and Blessings of Community, we witness true resourcefulness in engaging in Christ’s mission.
Prayer for Peace
Generous God, may we be generous too. May we be wise in our management of all you have given us. May we be wise in our stewardship of peace.
Spiritual Practice: Abolish Poverty, End Suffering
Read and reflect on John 21:15–17 as a meditation. Direct your mind to places where people have no homes. Think of the wars and natural disasters that destroy the homes of refugees. Be aware of the hungry and homeless who wander the streets or live in shelters. Let the images fill your mind. Pray for those who suffer. Imagine Christ tending those sheep. Think of ways you might end their suffering as part of your mission. Throughout the day, carry in your mind the voice of Christ saying: “Feed my lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep.”
Today, God, I will hold myself accountable for my part in your mission.