Use Everything You Have
September 19, 2004
Dishonest manager – we do not expect dishonest actions to be commended in the Bible or to be held up as examples for us to emulate. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. He is trying to prepare his followers for his death so they will carry on his work after he is gone. With this jarring parable telling us clearly we must choose between serving God or serving wealth, Jesus is trying to establish clear principles that his followers will remember when he is no longer present to remind them.
Here is the interesting take away message of this lesson in just four words – USE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE. Just as the dishonest manager used everything he had in order to advance his own interests, WE are to use all of our resources, everything we have in order to advance the God's purposes. We are to use everything we have to advance God's purposes not out of self interest, not because of some towering theological reason, but out of thanksgiving.
Now we can go in a lot of directions on the theme of using everything you have to advance God's purposes. I want to take in one familiar direction and then we are going to go down a path we have seldom visited.
The familiar direction is stewardship and giving. You will hear a lot more about this in the next few weeks but let me start by repeating an old joke – We can fix all of our financial problems right now. We would have a balanced budget, two clergy, adequate staff, repaired buildings and lots of programs. The answer is right here – in your pockets.
Episcopalians give about 2% of their income to church. We are way behind other denominations and especially the non-denominational evangelical churches where giving runs as high as 7-8%. There are many factors and much history behind the state of giving in Episcopal churches but I think the main reason is that amount is just barely enough to keep the local church alive (St. Philip's and else ...
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