Blog / Book of the Month / "2 - One Mediator and Master" - Sermon Series: "Only One" / Luke 16:1-15 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday September 22nd 2019 / Season Of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

"2 - One Mediator and Master" - Sermon Series: "Only One" / Luke 16:1-15 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday September 22nd 2019 / Season Of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

"2 - One Mediator and Master" - Sermon Series: "Only One" / Luke 16:1-15 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday September 22nd 2019 / Season Of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Text: Luke 16:1-15
Theme: “One Mediator and Master” - Series: Only One
Intr –  One of the passengers inside US Airways Flight 1549, which crash landed in the Hudson River in New York CIty on January, 2009 tells in a report from the time[1] that in the moments after the crash he was at the bottom of the plane and water was beginning to reach neck height. The ambient temperature was 20º F. He needed to swim to the front of the cabin to have a chance to live. He then stripped off most of his clothes so that he could advance and leave the aircraft. He survived, like the other 154 people on board.

The attitude of this passenger reminds us that, at certain turning points, we need to leave some things behind or we can no longer move ahead. Whether the things we will have to leave behind are good or bad, cheap or expensive.

Perhaps that man was wearing a simple outfit, but maybe it was an Armani suit. Maybe there was nothing in his pockets, but maybe a Mont Blanc pen or another very expensive thing. And what about his luggage, how many important things were left behind? The thing is that at that time nothing was more important than swimming for life.

There are times in which we have to choose between leaving behind the things that keep us from living on, or to cling to them and perhaps we’ll come to sink.[2]

Now that was an extreme situation in which leaving things behind was crucial. Why don’t we do that as a regular thing? We do we hold on to things that hinder us from Christ, from faith, from Church, trying to serve two or more masters at the same time. Perhaps because we don’t think we are in such a decisive extreme moment in life?. Well, here is the news: we are. “Today is the day of Salvation”, writes Paul to the Corinthians. Every day, today, is a decisive day when it comes to who is the Master and guide of our lives.

After telling the parable of the smart manager we see in the Gospel today Jesus addressing the topic of trying to serve two masters, that is, to hold on to things we shouldn’t that may make us sink our faith, to freeze over down below. But the topic is very specific, one of the core issues of mankind: Money. One of the Masters is God. And the other is money. Why is this a problem so frequently mentioned in the Scriptures?

         Well first of all, this is a problem that never gets old. Money, assets, riches have been a blessing and a problem all along the way. The answer for this question may lie in the epistle for today. When addressing Timothy his disciple and a brilliant young preacher, Paul stresses one of the foundations of our faith: There is one mediator between God and us: Jesus

Jesus mediates us and the Father, the source of Good, Grace and Glory. Then, we can say also that Jesus mediates our happiness, security, our joy, our comfort in sorrow. Jesus mediates the essence our soul needs with the essence only God can bestow upon us.

Now here is the kicker: what happens when money becomes the mediator of happiness and Good in our lives?

There are some biblical examples like the Golden Calf, or when people were after Jesus for food and health. I’ll single out one of them: Judas Iscariot. Especially, the episode in John 12 (Describe).

         Judas was walking right beside the Master, Jesus. But he wanted to serve the other Master – money. We know how that all ended up. Betrayal, despair, death.

         Judas walked beside Christ and still all of this happened. As we walk beside Him, in His Word, how can we think we would be immune to its dangers?

_What happens in our life if possessions become the mediator of meaning and satisfaction in life?

_When we think that money can mediate and solve all these conflicts, we have a really poor evaluation of the situation.

         In the past so many years I have been seeing a flood of comic, ironic, but also believed as true comments about money and happiness. Sentences such as: “Money doesn’t bring happiness but it can pay someone who will bring it for you”. “if you say that money doesn’t bring happiness it’s because you are poor; or because you don’t know the address of the malls that I know.”

         Now, if that’s the case, why do we still see for example, rich people who are: sad, angry, anxious, depressed, suicidal; also, with all the richness that is produces our world keeps getting less happy by the year;

         Moreover, we all here today shouldn’t have any of these because problems and should be some of the happiest people in the world! We are all rich beyond we realize.

“No, pastor, you are not preaching in Beverly Hills or Lower Manhattan, this is Regina. We all here in this room today are far from being rich people.” Well, perhaps… Now compare your income as low as you think it is, with the minimum wage, for example, in Brazil: 330 dollars. There are hundreds of thousands there, and around the World, who make less than that every month, and hardly own any property. Compared to them, and perhaps to half of the world, we are all very rich people. [3]

         Can we still believe then that money is a proper mediator to happiness in life? I would concede that money can mediate and buy some specific happy moments. But it can never mediate permanent happiness.

         Remember: “To be content with little is difficult; to be content with much is impossible.”

Yes, there are times in life that we need to leave things behind in order to move ahead. It may be in a crucial moment like a sinking plane. But it can be in the crucial moment of a family problem, a personal vice or sin. It can especially be when money ceases to be our servant and starts to become our master.

The danger is always lurking in the shadows of sin and pain: to do that or perhaps to have one foot each side. “I believe in Christ and believe that in Him I have all the happiness I have. But...” And then we think we can serve two masters. We can’t. It’s when we are emptied of our trust in anything else by the Law of God that the mediator brings by faith the Water of life into our hearts and lives.

Illustration: bottle with two straws.

         What happens when one of the plastic straws are outside of the bottle? It makes impossible to us to suck the water up. If we try to have one straw in and another out, then no thirst quenching happens. What happen when you soul thirst for hope, relieve and joy, and you try to have one foot each side, trying to serve and please two masters?

Now Jesus says we can’t serve two masters. Only one. Then the solution should be quite evident: One is the Master and the other is the servant. Then we have things figured out. The problem usually is defining who is who. Even inside churches sometimes money becomes Master (Prosperity) and God becomes the servant (“demand your right of blessing!”)

          Money can’t be a good master. It can only be a good servant.

         Money is a problem when there is love for it. Money is a blessing when there is love for the one Who provided it.

         Money is a tangible thing but highly unsafe.       God is an intangible thing which is completely safe.

 “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.” (CS Lewis)

Psalm 113:3-5:

3 From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!

4  The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!

5  Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high,

6  who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?


Cc – We don’t need to be in the back of a sinking pane after a crash land to realize we can’t hold on to things that are preventing us to live. Today, and every day is crucial to be completely immersed in Christ Grace, receiving the Water of Life that quenches our thirsty soul. All the money in the Word won’t be able to buy the Gifts from the Hands of the Lord of the World. It is for free.

There is only one Master, Only One Mediator. Only One.


[2] In faith in Jesus Christ we are encouraged to detach ourselves from everything that can freeze us in fear, anguish or selfishness. Or what, even apparently good, no longer serves us. It may be hard, as it probably must have been for Zuhoski to swim in the freezing water until rescued and warmed. Jesus' security gives us reason though not to give up in the midst of disaster or setbacks, but to continue to trust that He has life in His hands. And let go of whatever it takes to achieve what's important.
And if Airbus pilot Chelsey Sullenberger was rightly praised for saving 155 lives, including his own, imagine the praise that Jesus Christ deserves: To save all lives, He gave His own.
[3] Some estimates say that an average North American family today is richer than Royal families from the pre-industrialized era (XVIII Century).