Christmas to Calvary — December 16


The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

And he also said to the disciples, “A certain man was rich, who had a manager. And charges were brought to him that this person was squandering his possessions. And he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give the account of your management, because you can no longer manage.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What should I do, because my master is taking away the management from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I should do, so that when I am removed from the management they will welcome me into their homes!’ And he summoned each one of his own master’s debtors and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of olive oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your promissory note and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your promissory note and write eighty.’ And the master praised the dishonest manager, because he had acted shrewdly. For the sons of this age are shrewder than the sons of light with regard to their own generation. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it runs out they will welcome you into the eternal dwellings.

“The one who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful with unrighteous 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 your own? No domestic slave is able to serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and will despise the other. You are not able to serve God and money.”

Hypocrisy, Law, and the Kingdom of God

Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are the ones who justify themselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts! For what is considered exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

“The law and the prophets were until John; from that time on the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urgently pressed into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the law to become invalid.

On Divorce

“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

“Now a certain man was rich, and dressed in purple cloth and fine linen, feasting sumptuously every day. And a certain poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, lay at his gate, and was longing to be filled with what fell from the table of the rich man. But even the dogs came and licked his sores. Now it happened that the poor man died, and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. And the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes as he was in torment and saw Abraham from a distance, and Lazarus at his side. And he called out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he could dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am suffering pain in this flame!’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you received your good things during your life, and Lazarus likewise bad things. But now he is comforted here, but you are suffering pain. And in addition to all these things, a great chasm has been established between us and you, so that those who want to cross over from here to you are not able to do so, nor can they cross over from there to us.’ So he said, ‘Then I ask you, father, that you send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he could warn them, in order that they also should not come to this place of torment!’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they must listen to them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone rises from the dead.’”

Questions for Reflection:

  • Do we recognize that all that we have belongs to God? Do we use what we have in a way that pleases God or cheats Him? Are we storing up for ourselves treasures in heaven, or are we trusting the world’s riches that will fail?

  • Think practically: what decisions about money and possessions do you need to make differently in order to demonstrate your devotion to God?

  • Is there any area of your life where you trick others into thinking you are religious but the truth is something different? Have you considered that God knows your heart?

  • How do you feel about the doctrine and reality of hell? How does the rich man’s testimony affect your understanding of hell and what those there would desire for those still living?

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