The First Reading, recorded in Amos 8:4-7, is one that is blunt in its proclamation: it is a warning to those who would cheat and oppress their neighbor; there must be ethics in what we say and do. The LORD watches and remembers unrepented, on-going sinfulness, sinfulness that is unjust. Are we being fair and honest in our dealings with others?
Lord God, by Your grace and mercy in our lives, let us be fair and honest with those around us so that they are treated as You want, and that they will join us in giving You honor and praise. Amen.
The psalm for this Sunday is Psalm 113. This is one of the psalms of praise. Notice the reasons the psalmist gives praise to God: it is God Who rescues the poor and needy, and Who gives life where life is absent. The response? Praise! Let us join in giving the LORD praise that is due His Name.
Praise to You, most holy and righteous Lord. Praise to You for Your justice and mercy. Praise to You for the life we receive from You, especially the life we have in Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
The Second Reading is recorded in 1 Timothy 2:1-15. This is a passage where the apostle Paul reminds us of ways we live as Christians. Notice the emphasis on prayer, including prayers for all people, and prayers for those who are governmental leaders. The reason for prayer for all, even leaders? So that all people can be saved and come the knowledge of truth – that all will come to Jesus Christ.
The second paragraph can cause trouble for some. It is not intended to be a put-down of women, but is to remind all of us, men and women, that our lives are to be examples of Christ; lives of humbleness, lives that do not draw attention to ourselves, but rather lives that point to Jesus.
Lord Jesus, we thank and praise You that You are our Lord and Savior. Lead all people to You in faith. Guide the leaders of the nations by Your wisdom, compassion, and justice. Enable us to be Your followers who point to You by our words and deeds. In Your Name we pray. Amen.
The Gospel is found in Luke, 16:1-15. This is a difficult text. There is a dishonest manager who is getting fired, which he deserves, who then takes some rather unorthodox measures to protect himself, in which it appears as if he further cheats his master, and then is commended by his master for it! What is going on? The upshot is that we are not to rely on earthly wealth and possessions, they will fail or be lost when we die, but rather we are to rely on God and use our earthly wealth and possessions for our sustenance and for the well-being of others. Let our priorities be the priorities of God, let us be merciful with what He has entrusted to us.
Lord God, we thank and praise You for Your generous blessings to us. Keep our eyes fixed on You, not on those thing with which we have been entrusted as stewards. Enable us to follow You in faith each day and to be good stewards of Your blessings, sharing what You have entrusted to us with those who are in need. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.