Sunday, February 05, 2006

an easy one this morning

Sure glad we've got an easy one in front of us this morning for some of our adult classes - Luke 16:1-15.
"This parable is arguably the most perplexing of all that Jesus told and is an exegetical hornet's nest." (Craig Blomberg, Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Material Possessions, Eerdmans, 1999, p.121)

"For my money, this has to be the toughest of tough biblical texts." (William Willimon, The Future and What to Do About It, 1998; posted online at

"This is notoriously one of the most difficult of all the parables to interpret." (Leon Morris, Luke, IVP, 1986 reprint, p.245)

"The parable of the dishonest manager has always been puzzling." (Joseph Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke X-XXIV, Doubleday, 1985, p.1095)

"Few passages in the Gospel can have given rise to so many different interpretations as the parable of the prudent steward." (I.H. Marshall, Commentary on Luke, Eerdmans, 1978, p.614)
So, give a care not to be the first to offer a simple solution or the one to come down on a singular understanding with a "take no prisoners" air. :-) At the same time, let's dive into this tough text and let's allow the Lord to do some tough work on us. Amen!

And to take some of the edge off while we're talking about us, our money and sharing, here's a "way better than average" joke on the subject. Enjoy!
A priest, a rabbi and a minister were discussing church offerings and determining God's will as to the allocation of the funds.

The priest explained his method first. He said, "In order to decide how much collection money to give to charitable needs, and how much to keep for the church, I draw a circle on a table, and then I throw all of the money up into the air, and the money that lands inside of the circle goes to God's cause, and the money that lands outside of the circle goes to the church."

The rabbi nodded his head. "That's one way of doing it, but isn't that a bit selfish? I draw a square on a table, and then I throw all of the money up into the air. All of the money that lands inside of the square goes to the synagogue, and the money that lands outside of the square goes to God's cause."

The minister nodded. "That's one way to do it, too, but I prefer to simply trust God in his decisions. I throw all of the money into the air, God takes all he wants and all of the money that falls back down goes to the church.