Philippians 4:10-19; Psalm 111(112):1-2,5-6,8,9; Luke 16:9-15
A considerable part of most people's lives is absorbed with money. For some, the pursuit of personal wealth is their reason for living, for all to many, the pursuit of enough to feed a family and pay the bills is all they can hope to achieve. A depressingly large number of those we come to church with, are needing to use food banks and other charitable support frequently. Meanwhile those in work are now expected to be ever more productive, and 'growth' is a word that features frequently in the targets proposed by politicians of all parties. Employees are set targets to meet and business owners feel they have not succeeded if their business has not achieved a high return on investment. For all these - is not the tail that is wagging the dog, the economy?
Money is simply a means of bartering, so that for example those who can make cloth can exchange it for coins which in turn can be exchanged for food. Of itself, money has no value at all! The value lies in the work, and the skills of the people who have produced things and the skills of those who can make wise investments that benefit all. God values money itself as below everything else - for what is important are those things you can take to heaven with you: Love built up by right relationships between ourselves.
The shepherd in todays parable is concerned with the well being of all of his flock - a cold hearted business driven shepherd would let the lost sheep go, and protect the investment in his flock. It is very clear which path Jesus is asking us to take!
Use money, but do not let it taint you.