Friday Focus: Serving One Master
Then Jesus said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a manager,
and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his
property. So he summoned him and said to him, 'What is this that I
hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be
my manager any longer.'
Then the manager said to himself, 'What will
I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong
enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so
that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their
So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he asked the
first, 'How much do you owe my master?' He answered, 'A hundred jugs
of olive oil.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it
fifty.' Then he asked another, 'And how much do you owe?' He
replied, 'A hundred containers of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill and
make it eighty.'
And his master commended the dishonest manager
because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in
dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.
And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that
when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.
"Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is
dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you
have not been faithful with the dishonest 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 what is your own? No slave can serve two
masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted
to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." - Luke 16:1-13
we go again. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Jesus reminds us over
and over what our priorities must be. We have been saved by the blood of Christ.
His saving grace is a gift outright. Baptism makes us Christians, but only if we
live in his love. If we don’t, we’re really not Christians; we’re just baptized
pagans… masquerading as Christians. To be a Christian means to follow Christ.
It’s as simple as that. We must take up our cross and follow him, knowing that
at the very least our faith will cost us time, treasure and convenience… knowing
too that down the centuries it has cost countless Christians a steady stream of
blood, sweat and tears.
To serve one
Master, to carry the cross, means to put down the iPad, the five-iron and the
remote. We need not throw them away. But we must understand that all the things
the world values are potential distractions. And we must treat them accordingly.
Which is why we must know our priorities… loving God and neighbor… rejoicing
always in the Lord… building his kingdom… serving the least among us… witnessing
Christ’s love in the world. We must develop habits of virtue, reflexes of
holiness. We must leave no room for sin, filling our souls from the bottomless
fount of God’s grace. We must seal up the avenues of temptation and open our
hearts to the countless opportunities for goodness. We must give and forgive:
humbly serving one Master… Almighty God, in three divine persons: Father, Son
and Holy Spirit.
It’s very easy to
write that all down, packing it into one paragraph. Living it, packing it into
one lifetime is a very different story. That’s where faith comes in. In Christ,
we know we always have instant, expert help only a prayer away. The Father who
made us, the Son who saved us, the Holy Spirit who inhabits our every cell… God
is with us always. His love is never rationed. He has not rigged the game
against us. He does not want us to fail. He wants us safely home with him. His
advice is simple, direct and effective: In euphoric success, serve the Lord. In
confusion, serve the Lord. In disappointment, serve the Lord. In failure after
failure, serve the Lord. In despair, serve the Lord. That is the glory of
serving our one Master. In God there is no confusion, no disappointment, no
failure, no despair. There is only his love and all the gifts of his love…
faith, hope, courage, wisdom, serenity.
Our Master knows
our limitations. He knows our potential. He does not demand we produce results.
He gives us no quotas for prayer or good works. Our Master loves us
unconditionally, in our sins and in our foolishness. We are the Master’s
masterpiece, the product of his love. He delights in us, asking only that our
lives witness his love, praising the Father, following the Son, answering the
Holy Spirit. Praising God is not a divine ego trip. It is practical advice aimed
at aligning our lives with our Master’s purpose, steering us towards earthly
serenity and eternal happiness. Paul tells us: “We know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his
purpose.” That’s the kind of Master we have. There never was and never will
be another… never petty, ever patient, always loving. Thank you, Master. We love