The Dishonest Manager

Theme: Honesty. Proper 20 (25) Year C
Object: A money bag like a business might use to take deposits to the bank.
Scripture: "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." Luke 16:10 (NIV)

One day Susie's mother sent her to the store to buy a loaf of bread. She gave Susie two dollars and told her she could keep the change. When Susie paid for the bread, the cashier accidentally gave her too much money back. Susie knew right away that it was too much money. What should she do? Should she tell the cashier that she had made a mistake, or should she just keep quiet? What would you do?

James was going through the cafeteria line at school and looked down to see a dollar bill on the floor. There was no way of knowing who had lost the money, and no one would ever know if he just picked it up and put it in his pocket. What should he do? What would you do?

Hector found a money bag like this one containing $120 on top of a coke machine at his school. Wow! That is a lot of money. Just think of all of the things you could do with $120! What should Hector do? What would you do?

Every day we are faced with decisions which test our honesty. It may be a small amount of incorrect change, a dollar found on the floor, or a large amount of money such as Hector found at school. The amount of money is not important, it is a question of doing what is right.

One day Jesus told a parable about a rich man who accused his manager of wasting his money. He called him in and told to give an account of the way he had been managing his money. Sure enough, he had been taking some of the money for himself and cheating his employer.

Since the manager knew he was going to be fired, he came up with a plan that would make a lot of friends. He called the people who owed his boss money and asked them how much they owed. When they told them how much they owed, he told them they only had to pay a much smaller amount. As you can imagine, the people were very pleased to only have to pay a fraction of what they owed. The manager now had plenty of friends to help him when he no longer had a job.

Jesus told this story to show that "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." If you and I make sure that we are honest in the small things, then we can be sure that we will be honest in the big things. If people know that they can trust us in small things, they will know that they can trust us in the big things too.

Dear Father, help us to remember what Jesus taught about honesty -- and help us to be honest in every situation -- big or small. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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