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Converting the Rich Man (sermon notes)

September 14, 2010

Text: Luke 16: 1-13

This story is not about honesty (dishonest management). If we take the greek seriously, it is about justice and injustice (adikos)

The alternative is being faithful (pistos)

Crisis – the manager has been accused of wrong doing (squandering, dissipating, scattering, wasting) the property.

To save his own skin (I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg) he strategizes to bring in some quick capital by cutting the debts in half.

BIG SURPRISE: the rich man commends him for doing precisely what he was initially charged of.

Does this surprise represent different conceptions of justice? It is certainly appears to be a change of mind on the part of the rich man. Perhaps it is a conversion with respect to justice, economic justice.

According to our story wealth itself is ‘unjust’. We need to take this insight seriously. Does the manager, by being unjust with what is unjust, subvert the usual conception of justice and free himself and his master from the power of mammon?

This is described as ‘wise’… Wise justice looks to the wider economy of relationships before it looks to the so-called bottom line…. Wise justice goes against the grain of mammon. Money has an inherent temptation to idolatry within it. To go against the grain of money is to go with the grain of the universe.

Dealing faithfully with unjust money is the true justice.

In the end we are faced with a choice… not between money and God but between use of money in such a way that it is idolatrous and use which honours God and the life of Christ.

This is not a simple choice because money is not a neutral impotent reality, money really means a set of economic practices which push us in a certain direction – towards security and away from the cross.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 2:45 am

    Nice one … and it’s only Tuesday 😉

  2. Pam permalink
    September 15, 2010 12:02 am

    I would never describe these sermon notes as “professional”. Not me. No way.

  3. bruce hamill permalink
    September 15, 2010 1:19 am

    Thanks Pam, I’ll take that as a compliment. A professional would no doubt have a nicer font and bullet points for notes.

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