In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to sit down with your financial record and beef them up? Just add a few zeros to the dollars in your accounts. Or even better, take that minus and make it a plus! That would be amazing, maybe even life changing. But it would be completely dishonest, unjust, wicked. After all, the world has been falling apart since 2008 because corporations and banks, even countries were all doing exactly that.
And yet, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, that is what your Saviour did for you. He forgave your debt of sin owed to His Father. It not just. It seems wicked in our eyes that sinners get off the hook. But you have.
But the Lord is the maker of heaven and earth. All things come from Him. All things belong to Him (Psalm 50:10-12). If He needs more He could create it out of nothing as He did in the beginning (Hebrews 11:3; Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-5). Scarcity is not a problem for Him. However, He does bind Himself to His own laws that He wove into the fabric of the universe—in particular to His moral laws for they express His own character. So in order to be both just and a debt eraser He must pay for it in Himself—which is what His Son did on the cross.
But unlike the dishonest manager Our Lord did not do this merely to be owed favours. He did it to make friends. Friends who by His debt erasing would be welcomed into His eternal dwellings.
You are His friends by His erasing of your debt. But not a friend only, for you belong to Him. Your life is His. You owe Him. But this is not merely the power-politics of a worldly-wise power-broker. This is the joy of His kingdom. For your burdensome debts are forgiven. And His yoke is easy (Matthew 11:28-30). You are not a pawn of those whom you owe, living your life constantly trying to pay off your debt, never able to get ahead. Instead Jesus has broken the tyranny God’s Holy Law over you. Making you a joyful servant of Him who paid your debt.
But in our sin we are fools. Even though we have died to the Law and are now alive to the Father through His Son, we still think we can serve another master. We don’t realize our lives are bound up in Him (Romans 6:11). We think that the worldly wealth He gives, the physical stuff of this world can somehow buy us happiness, or make our insecurities and anxiety go away, or cause us to worry less. At the root of all of this is that though we may acknowledge that He has taken care of us spiritually we think He won’t take care of us physically. We think that we are left to take care of ourselves physically. We have bought the unbiblical lie, that God takes care of those who help themselves. When nothing is further from the truth. God takes care of the widow and the orphan (Psalm 68:5), the beaten down sinner, the man lying half-dead by the roadside (Luke 10:25-37), those who are humble and downtrodden (James 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:5-6; Proverbs 3:34), and even sinners who don’t yet know they are sinners (Romans 5:8), not the supposed shoe-strap pullers. And so we try to serve two masters: worldly wealth and Him.
Repent. For you can not. And to try is to lie to yourself. For though you say you can serve both you will love one and become disinterested in the other. You will be devoted to one and detest the other.
Because you can never be more secure than you are in Him. In Him is life (John 10:10), life to the full, eternal life. He will provide for your needs while He keeps you here below. But stop clinging to this life as if it were all that there is. For He is control. The world calls His way wicked and unjust, because He forgives. But where there is the forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation so He is working things out for you who have been called to faith in Him (Romans 8:28). He will provide what you need, not what you want. And He has already provided an eternal home for you with His Father (John 14:1-4).
For He has been faithful in the little things of this life here below (Luke 16:10-11). And He has been commended by His Father (Luke 16:8-9, 11-13) for His management of the Father’s wealth—for giving it freely to you and all who are called to faith in Him.
For what you need is Him. For you may die tomorrow and your worries and concerns will no longer be yours. Instead you will stand before Him—the righteous judge who judges by His Law under which you are debtor. So how do you want to be judged? By your own debt under His Law? Or by His freewheeling debt-forgiving Son who has all the riches of heaven and earth and tells you, “Here sit down with Me. Take this pen which flows with My blood and write your debt cancelled.” (Luke 16:6-7; Revelation 3:5)
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON