The Kent cricket team from the 1970s started my thinking towards the sermon on Sunday. Maybe you remember some of the names; A P E Knott, Derek Underwood and Colin Cowdry were among them. Whether it was wielding the bat, bowling a ball or catching at full stretch, they were a joy to watch especially at the ground in Canterbury with that tree in the way just by the boundary. Only in cricket would a tree be replaced to ensure continuity if play if it were damaged like this one was during the war. What a decision that was to make. To replace it elsewhere might have made things a little easier. It's just not cricket is it? But decisions are needed in cricket if you are to influence the outcome of a game. How does this relate to Luke's gospel? Well through the range if decisions needed.
You see the bible reading this week was a hard one so no doubt my mind wandered elsewhere as I thought of what Jesus meant us to take from the parable of the shrewd (dishonest?) manager. Luke seems to have struggled with it too. He added his own pithy little summary to help us all out. You can't serve both God and money. But is that satisfactory here? One way of reading the story suggests we should reward dishonesty. For me this parable is like a game of cricket. You read it and you read it again. Each time you read it, you are living within different situations of life. Sometimes in cricket you reach for a catch other times your hitting the ball for six while next week you might be tripping over the boundary rope as you try fruitlessly to stop the ball rolling over. It's the same with this parable. Is the master always God or is he just a master-someone in control; a person holding power over another? Is this about a better life or eternal life? Are we to see exploitation here for financial gain or the excercise of sympathy to help out those in need? When you get down to it, the road map for life that the gospels offer is still full of decisions; of balancing requirements and wondering what it all means. That's one of the great things of being part of the church-even all these years after Jesus told his stories, even though we now have cricket to show us fair play, we still have to work out just how Jesus wants us to apply his stories to our lives in different situations,