Our chapter (19) in Ezekiel is called a “lamentation for the princes of Israel” – it is a ‘parable’ describing the utter failure of these “princes” to perform their role – until, in the end “there remains … no sceptre for ruling” [v.14]. We can apply that parable to the failure of Christianity today – and for many years past.
In Luke, his 16th chapter provides us with two remarkable parables, both are distinct and different from our Lord’s other parables. Let’s look carefully at the one about a dishonest manager who is called to account and loses his position; it is clear it applies to the religious leaders that opposed Jesus.
Verses 11 to 13 provide the ‘heart’ of the lesson! We need to identify these in each of Christ’s parables. They are what we might call ‘the punch line’ which illustrate the lesson his listeners (and readers) should learn – and take to heart.
The managers’ dishonesty earns him the condemnation – and a spiritual application – “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
For us – the lesson is clear! How well are we serving our Master, our Lord in heaven? What dominates our thinking – and is the major thought behind our planning? Do we really desire – in our hearts – more than this mortal life offers? Yes!! Then how do we show this in our lives?
Verse 14 tells us how the Pharisees “ridiculed him” when they listened to this teaching: but they “were lovers of money” [v.14] The same could be said of the world all around us.
Jesus responds, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” [v.15] They did not take this comment to heart! How much do we do? ‘The sight’ of God enables him to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ all. We reflect on the remarkable power of modern inventions, especially ‘mobiles’ that are “exalted among men” – but these are awesome evidence of the ‘powers’ God built into creation. Let us use these powers as wisely as possible, knowing – in our hearts – that “God knows (y)our hearts.”