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 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.” Luke 16:1-9
Today marks the two month anniversary of my mother's passing. My mother was by no means a wealthy woman, but looking over her lifetime of treasures this past weekend, I realized how much she did with very little. The gifts she may have been able to give us in her lifetime were humble and yet they are priceless and rare. She treasured relationships and tried to love people, even the most ornery and despicable among us. She had little humble gifts from many friends and admirers who she had always welcomed as family. She made everyone feel she was thrilled to see them. She made welcome, she lived welcome, she embodied welcome. And now that she is gone, I know she was welcomed immediately into the eternal home.
Jesus is responding again to criticism. He responds to his critics, not by argument, but by inviting them into a story. He invites them to imagine God in the world. He tells them that all the gifts they have been given they should use, including their intellect and their cunning. All of our gifts, small and great are for using, understanding that the gifts are finite and will be gone, along with all our possessions and lucre. We cannot take it with us.
Today I ask God to help me use the gifts I have been given. May welcome be the way we all will be today. As we use the gifts we have been given, may we be grateful to the one who gave them to us so that all might know the divine love alive in our world today.