Today is Saturday, November 11th. When I read this Gospel, some of the words of Jesus make complete sense to me. These words, “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” makes sense to me. “No servant can serve two masters” and “You cannot serve both God and mammon” are each logical statements to me.
However, this Gospel begins with Jesus saying “I tell you, make friends for yourself with dishonest wealth…. ” and, imbedded later in the passage are these words, “If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?” What gives? What is Jesus saying with those words in the Gospel? Does Christ really want us to make friends with dishonest wealth?
Now, I am not professing to have the answer; I have yet to meet Christ face to face to ask the question! However, it did get me thinking. I earn a living; I make a salary and, as a result, I have created wealth. I am not sure I have ever examined who I work for and how we do business. Have you?
If you work for a firm, what type of clients does your firm represent? If you work for a financial services firm, are your business transactions deemed equitable or does your firm seek to take advantage of others? If you work for a retailer or a manufacturing firm, do you know where your supplies are imported from or where your product is made? How do those countries treat their employees; do they labor under reasonable conditions and receive a fair wage?
Depending on your answers above, could it be that we, in drawing a salary from our employer, are making friends with dishonest wealth?
I am not suggesting material wealth in dishonest. However, I submit to you that material wealth is not, as Jesus put it, “true wealth”. I think Jesus would argue that our faith, our charisms and talents, and the gifts we have of the Holy Spirit is where our true wealth lies.
I wonder if today’s Gospel is an invitation to look at our “mammon” or material wealth and ask ourselves if they are being earned ethically and honestly and being utilized in the service of others? With regards to our true wealth, our spiritual gifts, are we using those to lead others to Christ and glorify God?