I like homiletical challenges. I enjoy preaching on Trinity Sunday and when Jesus tells us that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. I like tackling the tough doctrines and demands of the gospel. But Sunday's Gospel lesson, the parable of the dishonest manager? That takes difficult to another order of magnitude.
Luke seems to mislead us in his description of the dinner exchange we will read in this Sunday's Gospel lesson. He tells us, "When [Jesus] noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable," but the words that follow aren't really parabolic. They're just good advice.
A few years ago, our church installed a new water cooler—not the kind with the clear jug on top but the kind that we used back in grade school. It's a rectangular prism that rises straight from the floor. When you press the circular silver button, water flows in a gentle arc so that you can lap the cooled water up into your mouth. (I had always called that a water fountain, but David, who helped us install it, taught me that a fountain is a landscape feature in your front yard.) We hadn't had a working water cooler at St. John's in a long time, and it was a welcomed addition.