Sermons 2007

We hear what we want to hear, Proper 20C, 23 September 2007, Luke 16:1-13

Home | In the Beginning was the Word, Christmas Day, 25 December 2007, John 1:1-14 | What's Missing? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2007, Luke 2:1-20 | Joseph, the Forgotten One, Advent 4A, 23 December 2007, Matthew 1:18-25 | Come with Joy, Advent 3A, 16 December 2007, Matthew 11:2-11 | Darkness or Light? Advent 1A, 2 December 2007, Matthew 24:37-44 | What Kind of King is He? Proper 29C, 25 November 2007, Luke 23:35-43 | Predictions and the Horseman of the Apocalypse, Proper 28C, 18 Nov 2007, Luke 31:5-19 | Just passing through? Proper 27C , 11 November 2007, Luke 20:20-38 | Not like others? Proper 25C, 28 October 2007, Luke 18:9-14 | "We are bold to say", Proper 24C, 21 October 2007, Luke 18:1-8a | "The ten lepers", Proper 23C, 14 October 2007, Luke 17:11-19 | Proper 22C and Holy Baptism, 7 October 2007 | A taste of cool water, Proper 21C, 30 September 2007, Luke 16:19-31 | We hear what we want to hear, Proper 20C, 23 September 2007, Luke 16:1-13 | "Lost -- but found!" Proper 19C, 16 September 2007, Luke 15:1-10 | "Who is coming to dinner?" Proper 17C, 2 September 2007, Luke 14:1, 7-14 | Doors and narrow gates, Proper 16C, 26 August 2007, Luke 13:22-30 | "Fire to the earth", Proper 15C, 19 August 2007, Luke 12:49-56 | "Do not be afraid, little flock', Proper 14C, 12 August 2007, Luke 12:32-40 | "How much is enough?" Proper 13C , 5 August 2007, Luke 12:13-21 | "Lord, teach us to pray" Proper 12C, 29 July 2007, Luke 11:1-13 | "The Better Part?" Proper 11C, 22 July 2007, Luke 10:38-42 | The Good Samaritan -- the Summary of the Law" Proper 10C, 15 July 2007, Luke 10:25-37 | "Travel Light!" Proper 9C, 8 July 2007, Luke 10:1-12, 16-20 | "Independence Day" Proper 8C, 1 July 2007, Luke 9:51-62 | "Three Questions", Proper 7C, 24 Jun 2007, Luke 9:18-24 | "In or Out?" Proper 6C, 17 June 2007, Luke 7:36-50 | "On Grace", Proper 5C, 10 June 2007, Luke 7:11-17 | Trinity C, 3 June 2007 | Pentecost C, 27 May 2007 | "Unity and Diversity" Easter 7C, 20 May 2007, John 17:20-26 | "Come, Holy Spirit, Come" Easter 6C, 13 May 2007, John 14:23-29 | "What is this thing called love?" Easter 5C, 6 May 2007, John 13:31-35 | "Numbers and Sheep", Easter 4C, 29 April 2007, John 10:22-30 | Virginia Tech, Easter 3C, 22 April 2007 Revelation 6:8-10 | Thomas Doubter and Believer, Easter 2C, 15 April 2007. John 20: 19-31 | ""Why do you look for the living among the dead?" Easter Sunday, 8 April 2007, Luke 24:1-10 | Good Friday 6 April 2007 | Maundy Thursday 5 April 2007 | Why are we not surprised? Palm/Passion Sunday C, 1 April 2007, Luke 22:39-23:50 | Party or Pout? Lent 4C, 18 March 2007, Luke 15:11-32 | To Stand on the Mountaintop, Lent 3C, 11 March 2007, Exodus 3:1-15 | "Ways Not Taken", Lent 2C, 4 March 2007. Luke 13:22-35 | "Liminal Thresholds and Lintels", Lent 1C, 25 February 2007, Luke 4:1-13 | Ash Wednesday Meditation 2007 | "Transfiguration and Transformation, Epiphany Last C, 18 February 2007, Luke 9:28-36 | "Weal and Woe", Epiphany 6C, 11 February 2007, Luke 6:17-26 | "Who, me?" Epiphany 5C, 4 February 2007, Luke 5:1-11 | "Filled with rage!" Epiphany 4C, 28 January 2007, Luke 4:21-32 | "The Spirit of the Lord is upon us," Epiphany 3C, 21 January 2007, Luke 4:14-21 | "Weddings and Miracles," Epiphany 2C, 14 January 2007, John 2:1-11 | Schism and Epiphany, Epiphany 1C, 7 Dec 2007, Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Proper 20C 2007, Luke 16:1-13

We hear what we want to hear. Three modern parables and some brief commentary:

First parable: Two men walking down a crowded, busy New York City Street. It was the height of the noontime lunch hour. With the uproar of taxis blaring horns and shouting pedestrians, one could barely hear oneself think.

Suddenly, the one man stopped dead in his tracks and exclaimed, "Did you hear that?"

"Hear what?" said his friend

"The cricket," responded the first man. "What a delightful sound: a cricket in the middle of New York City."

"You're crazy," said the second man. "How could you possibly hear a cricket in all this racket?"

Without saying a word, the first man reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change. He threw it up in the air and stood back and watched it hit the sidewalk.

It bounced on the sidewalk a few times and came to rest all over the place. Immediately, two or three dozen
people were on their hands and knees looking for the coins.

Smiling, the first man turned to his friend and said, "We hear what we want to hear." (1)

Indeed, what do we hear? And how much is really enough?

Second parable:

There was an elderly lady, a grandmother of advanced age, who spent her last years with her social security check as her only income. Her children and grandchildren had been spectacular successes in life and when she died they did not expect much in the way of a legacy. But what they did get was an example that they never forgot.

When the family gathered for a supper together after her burial, the eldest among them stood up to announce that he had a letter from the grandmother to read. "To all my family," she had written, "I thank the dear God who loves us all that all of you have been so successful and so richly blessed. You have family who love and care for you. There is nothing I can do for you that you can't do for yourselves or that your family won't do for you.

"Therefore I have given everything I have left to the church and to those less fortunate that they too may know God's love at work in the world." (2)

Third parable: A man bought a parrot. He taught that bird to say one word. That word was, "Today." When he got up in the morning and when he came home at night it was beaten into his eardrums: "Today." There was no procrastination around that bird. "Today, today, today," he screamed.

About six months later the man bought another parrot. He taught that bird to say one word. That word was "Tomorrow." He said, "I have been living as if there were no future. Today is all there is, and I've found it isn't so."

The two birds together helped him keep his mind on the realities of life: today and tomorrow. Tomorrow is what we reap from what we sow today. (3)

In this difficult parable of the shrewd steward, Jesus seems to be telling us that for all the temptations inherent in wealth and material possessions it is possible for the Christian to manage them in ways appropriate for the Kingdom of God on earth and in heaven. (4) "Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much."

What do we hear? And there is this: There are two ways in which a Christian may view his money --"How much of my money shall I use for God?" or "How much of God's money shall I use for myself?" (5)


1. Stewardship, Parish Publications, September 1994, modified.
2. Ibid, October 1994, modified. .
3. The Sign in the Subway, Carveth Mitchell, CSS Publishing Company, 1-55673-056-X, in eSermons Illustrations for September 23,2007, modified.
4. Fred Craddock, Luke, Interpretation, pp. 190-192,esp. 191.
5. W. Graham Scroggie, eSermons Illustrations files.