"Who's my boss?" Perhaps you have asked that question while holding down a job. A company hired you to carry out various tasks at work. But then confusion began to occur.
Different supervisors gave conflicting directions about the assigned responsibilities. Finally, in exasperation, you went to the boss highest up the chain. You asked, "Who's my actual boss and what are my work duties each day?"
This weekend is the 15th Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel lesson is from Luke 16:1-15. Jesus tells the Parable of the Dishonest Manager. After he is done, he summarizes by saying, "No servant can serve two masters, for 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 God and money." (verse 13)
In other words, Jesus is directing each of us to ask ourself a question. "Who is my true boss and the master in my life? Is it God or is it money?"
Now the Parable of the Dishonest Manager itself takes some explaining. A dishonest manager for a rich man does something very shrewd. He goes to his master's debtors and has them reduce the amounts on the bills that were due. The end result, of course, would be that the debtors were happy about this. They assumed that the manager had done so based on direction from the rich man. So the debtors were pleased with them both.
Then the rich man complemented his dishonest manager. Since the bills had been reduced, in the eyes of all the debtors, both the rich man and the dishonest manager were heroes! Thus in the parable Jesus says, "The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light."(verse 8)
Obviously the 10 Commandments and Jesus himself do not sanction stealing and dishonesty. But Jesus was aware of the "ways of the world." He wants his disciples to be just as shrewd in handling the true riches from God. We bring to the world the eternal wealth of forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. So he says, "And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings." (verse 9)
What this means is that we serve God by properly using money. Rather than have money as our master, Jesus is our master. Everything we have is from him. We are just stewards of his gifts. We are to use all our time, treasure and talents shrewdly in the kingdom of God. We preach, teach, baptize, absolve and distribute holy communion. This is so that many countless people can be welcomed into the eternal dwellings in heaven.
After all, that is why Jesus came to earth in the first place. As is written in (2 Corinthians 8:9) "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich."
As our true Master, he became a Servant who was crucified in our place. Through faith in his name, the rags of our sins are placed upon him. The robes of his royal righteousness are then placed upon us. This is truly the eternal and everlasting wealth that money cannot buy.
Therefore we are not confused anymore. We serve God, not money. Our master and boss is Jesus Christ.