Readings 20141107

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Do you make good use of your money and possessions? Jesus seemed to praise a steward (a manager entrusted with his master’s goods) who misused his employer’s money. What did the steward do that made Jesus praise him? The steward was responsible for managing his wealthy landowner’s property. The steward very likely overcharged his master’s tenants for their use of the land and kept more than his fair share of the profit. When the landowner discovered the steward’s dishonest practice he immediately removed him from his job, leaving him penniless and ashamed to beg or do manual work. The necessity of prudent foresight to avert disaster Before news of his dismissal became public knowledge, the shrewd steward struck a deal with his master’s debtors. In discounting their debts he probably was giving up his generous commission. Such a deal won him great favor with the debtors. Since the steward acted as the landowner’s agent, such a deal made his master look very generous and forgiving towards those who owned him money. Surely everyone would praise such a generous landowner as the town hero! Since the master could not undo the steward’s cancellation of the debts without losing face and making his debtors resent him, he praised the steward for outwitting him and making him appear as a generous and merciful landowner.

Jesus obviously thought that the example of a very clever steward would be a perfect illustration for a spiritual lesson about God and how God treats those who belong to his kingdom. What’s the point of Jesus’ parable? The dishonest steward is commended not for mishandling his master’s wealth, but for his shrewd provision in averting personal disaster and in securing his future livelihood. The original meaning of “shrewdness” is “foresight”. A shrewd person grasps a critical situation with resolution, foresight, and the determination to avoid serious loss or disaster. Faith and prudent foresight can save us from moral and spiritual disaster Jesus is concerned here with something more critical than a financial or economic crisis. His concern is that we avert spiritual crisis and personal moral disaster through the exercise of faith and foresight. If Christians would only expend as much foresight and energy to spiritual matters, which have eternal consequences, as they do to earthly matters which have temporal consequences, then they would be truly better off, both in this life and in the age to come.

God loves good stewardship and generosity Ambrose, a 4th century bishop said: The bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows, the mouths of children are the barns which last forever. True wealth consists not in what we keep but in what we give away. Possessions are a great responsibility. The Lord expects us to use them honestly and responsibly and to put them at his service and the service of others. We belong to God and all that we have is his as well. He expects us to make a good return on what he gives us. God loves generosity and he gives liberally to those who share his gifts with others. The Pharisees, however, had little room for God or others in their hearts. The Gospel says they were lovers of money (Luke 16:14). Love of money and wealth crowd out love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus makes clear that our hearts must either be possessed by God’s love or our hearts will be possessed by the love of something else. What do you most treasure in your heart? “Lord Jesus, all that I have is a gift from you. May I love you freely and generously with all that I possess. Help me to be a wise and faithful steward of the resources you put at my disposal, including the use of my time, money, and possessions.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com  

LONGER-RANGE FINANCIAL PLANNING  
“As you well know, we have our citizenship in heaven.” —Philippians 3:20   Many people are accustomed to plan ahead financially. It is also customary to emphasize long-range planning and not merely short-term. The Lord does want us to plan ahead for the very long-term, even for Judgment Day and eternity. By tithing, almsgiving, having no debt (Rm 13:8), and obeying the Lord in not demanding interest, we let God make us financially secure. In this world, the Lord in turn will supply our “needs fully, in a way worthy of His magnificent riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19). Also, because we are faithful in the small matter of managing our material goods, the Lord will entrust us with greater things (Lk 16:10). Then, after this life on earth, we will be called good and faithful stewards on Judgment Day (Mt 25:21) and have an everlasting dwelling place in heaven (Lk 16:9). If your financial planning doesn’t take account of life after death, it is short-term and inadequate. If you are “set upon the things of this world” (Phil 3:19), you “will end in disaster” (Phil 3:19). Plan ahead. Plan for life, death, judgment, and eternity.  

Prayer: Father, I will never be an enemy of the cross by being a friend of the world (Phil 3:18; Jas 4:4). Promise: “For these reasons, my brothers, you whom I so love and long for, you who are my joy and my crown, continue, my dear ones, to stand firm in the Lord.” —Phil 4:1 Praise: Terry gave his savings to the poor. Shortly thereafter, his troublesome car began running smoothly.   (For more teaching on this subject, order our booklet, The Bible on Money, and our leaflet, Usury (Interest).)   

Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 24, 2014.  The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

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