Luke 16:1-13

Shh! I have a secret! I happen to know that one of you here in church this morning is under the scrutiny of the CIA : yes, the Central Intelligence Agency! CIA agents are watching you night and day. Without your knowledge, they installed hidden cameras and hi-tech bugging devices where you live and work. They've gone through your garbage, tracked your finances and work habits, and monitored your TV watching. They know most everything about you : including last night's heartburn and whether or not you put on clean socks this morning!

Now they're ready to deliver their top-secret report to the CIA headquarters to answer the question: Who are you? What are you all about? What's your true identity? I got a peek at the report before it was sent. As I recall, the report goes something like this: "Subject is fairly attractive, friendly, in generally good health though somewhat overweight, and appears normal in most respects. Subject attends a church in Nenno, spends an inordinate amount of time watching television programs of questionable value. Subject sometimes gossips too much, worries too often and frustrates easily."

The report continues: "After six full weeks of close surveillance, we still do not know what this subject really cares about. Though a baptized church goer, the subject behaves much like people who have no religion and spends a great amount of time and purchasing and consuming unnecessary products and services." The report then concludes: "Subject is rather restless and without much joy of life, which could lead to serious problems. We recommend this subject continue to be monitored closely for some period of time.imilar report could be made about any one of us in church this morning, because to some degree we all have divided hearts, divided between the things that really matter and the things that don't. Because our hearts are divided, we rarely bring our whole self, our best self, our Christ-like self, to what really matters. This isn't a new problem, peculiar to our age of electronic gadgets and rampant consumerism. It's a very old problem. Jesus saw it lurking in the eyes of people of his time. He saw it in their restlessness and in their divided hearts. Listen to Jesus: "No one can faithfully serve two masters. Either you'll hate the first and love the second, or adore the first and despise the second. You cannot serve both God and money!"

Living a divided life is extremely stressful. So to be really happy, we must choose what really matters; we must love God as Jesus says "with our whole heart and mind and strength, and love our neighbor as we love ourselves." We must identify our God-given gifts and share them with others. We must pursue the things that really matter with all the focus, creativity and single-mindedness of that crooked manager in Luke's Gospel. Choose wisely! If nothing else, we'll get the CIA off our backs!

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