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Act decisively in response to the proclamation of the Kingdom of God

By Canon Walter Lewis

Jesus called people to respond urgently and without delay to his proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Frequently, that call was in the form of stories. For example, on one occasion the story was about 'A Dishonest Manager'.

In order to understand the point and message of the story, it is necessary to grasp the importance of the proclamation and ministry of Jesus 2000 years ago and since.

As we do that, we will see that here is a story to which you and I are called to respond.

God came into the world in human form in Jesus. The crucial element from that moment onwards became the human response to Jesus.

Jesus inaugurated the final Messianic Age. Everything would depend henceforth on each person's response to him. Here we see and appreciate that Jesus is the key figure for all mankind, for all time, and throughout the ages.

With these things in mind, we know that the proclamation of the good news of God's Kingdom - the heart of Jesus' work and ministry - constitutes a crisis. Jesus presents us with the need to choose. Is it 'yes' or 'no'?

Jesus presumed no more nor less than this when he told the story of the Dishonest Manager.

It's about an overwhelming crisis in the manager's life and how he responded.

The manager looked after the country estate of a rich man. However, it transpired that the manager was dishonest. Money which should have gone to his master was spent wilfully on himself. The manager was called to account. He must explain his actions before he would be fired!

Realising the impending crisis - no job, no income, no home …. manual labour was not for him, begging was unthinkable - what could he do? He contacted his master's debtors. He established the level of the debts in each case, and offered generous discounts for immediate payments. In that way he was able to give some return to his master while at the same time gaining favour with the tenants.

Knowing the writing was on the wall - seeing the immediate catastrophic crisis - the dishonest manager made friends to whom he could turn for help when his job was gone.

In telling this story, Jesus is saying that his proclaiming the good news of God's Kingdom presents every person with a crisis - the need to think and decide for or against the inbreaking Kingdom of God.

He is saying, 'Learn from the shrewd manager about the need for urgent action in the midst of a crisis. Take decisive action in response to the proclamation of the Kingdom of God!'.

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