Monday, September 13, 2010

The Word as a Wordle

Here is the wordle of this week's Gospel reading from Luke 16:1-13. I have to say that I have never really understood Jesus' teaching here. The passage reads:

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 account 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 homes.” 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.’

If the Wordle helps in interpreting Jesus' words it would seem that the parable is more about faithfulness, dishonesty and management than money itself. Is Jesus asking us to think again about what makes us wealthy? The accumulation of 'stuff' whether honestly or otherwise? Or is Jesus contrasting dishonest beheaviour with faithfulness and asking us to see how our motives match up? Another way of interpreting the story is Jesus saying use whatever it takes to make sure people come to know and experience the love of God. A further interpretation is to do with Jesus affirming shrewd stewardship of the resources at our disposal from God...

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