September 22nd, 2019 (15th Sunday after Pentecost): “This is Right and Acceptable”
Main Text: 1 Timothy 2:1-7 (Amos 8:4-7; Luke 16:1-13)
Hypocrisy is defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.” Amos points out this hypocrisy in the very fabric of God’s community. They still worship and celebrate the festivals. They claim to practice what is right and acceptable before God, but their beliefs do not match their behavior. They say one thing in the temple, but practice something different in the marketplace. If we are honest, however, our behavior has not always conformed to our stated belief and standards. We also can confess one thing on Sunday, and something completely different as soon as we walk out the doors. Amos tells us that this is not right or acceptable in the sight of God. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells a weird story. The dishonest manager is a hypocrite in the sense that he seems to have no moral standards and only believes in himself, yet even he can do what is right and acceptable when it is in his best interests. That is why the letter to Timothy urges prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for those in high positions. We pray that those in authority will do what is right and acceptable, even if it only serves their best interests. No matter what their reasons are, God can use it for the good of all. We, however, as children of God are called to live God’s love so that our lives reflect what is right and acceptable in the sight of God. May we also offer prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for God’s presence and grace to do so.