Luke 16: 1-13

Illustrated New Resources

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  • Confessions of a 90210 Fan

    by Jim Chern
    A few years ago, this internationally known entertainer by the name of Penn Jillette (from the famous duo of Penn and Teller) who is an avowed atheist said something that has stayed with me since. He shared how this one night, a fan of his came up to him after a performance when Penn was signing autographs. This guy was such a genuine fan – that he had been there a couple nights earlier (and had seen Penn multiple times over the years) and just came back this night hoping to have a moment with the celebrity. When he did, the guy was able to share his genuine admiration to the entertainer for his work over the years… and then said to Penn that he even though he knew that he was an atheist, this fan of his as a Christian, wanted to share what was most important to him, so he gave Penn Jillette a bible. In that bible, the man wrote a heartfelt, dedication to him. Penn Jillette who is known for being incredibly sarcastic took to YouTube the next day and said how genuinely moved he was by this act. Even though he was an atheist Penn Jillette called all of us Christians out asking why don’t more of us do the same? Why aren’t we that mindful, thoughtful and passionate to want to share what we believe is good news? Or as Penn Jillette put it – How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell [others] that...
  • Money in Our Hearts

    by Julian DeShazier
    What if I told you that, during my first year as a pastor, a drug dealer approached me and said he had a $40,000 gift for the church, and that this gift was his way of making amends for his past deeds? Take a second and simply ask, What would I do in this situation? Ready? Would you be mad at me for telling him that I’d accept his gift? Or for the fact that during the conversation I was already making plans for the good we could do with this dishonest money? And would it be egregious if, after he was settled in his decision, I told him that giving the church this money wouldn’t solve his problems? (After all, he was still selling drugs!) I should have kept quiet. Once he realized that the problem was not what he did with his money but how he earned it and what he was doing to people…well, he decided to work on his heart instead of giving away his money. Don’t say it. I know you’re thinking it. And don’t worry: I said it. “You know, you could do both!”...
  • Act Up

    by Jim Eaton
    Let’s start with another story of a successful con man. It’s called, “The Music Man”—perhaps you know it. In the days before Amazon, salesman traveled by train, showed products and took orders. Professor Harold Hill sold something more, though: he sold an attitude, he sold hope. In the story, Professor Hill arrives at a small Iowa town called River City and convinces the people that the pool hall will be a bad influence on young people. Having described all manner of terrible things about to happen, he then provides the solution: a boys’ band, with uniforms and instruments, all of which he will provide—for a fee. People buy it; people hope for it. There’s one problem: Professor Harold Hill isn’t a professor and he doesn’t know a thing about music. This is a con he’s played before, sell the hope of a band, sell the hope of help, talk the money, deliver the instruments and uniforms, disappear before anyone catches on. While he’s waiting for the instruments to arrive, he meets Marion, the town Librarian, and starts to fall in love. At the same time, rumors about his lack of credentials sprout, town authorities are suspicious and dark clouds are gathering. He tells the boys at band practice to use the “Think” method of learning: think how they should sound. If this worked, I could think I’m a great singer and join the choir. Notice I haven’t. Finally, the truth begins to come out, it’s time for Professor Hill to run for it but—he doesn’t. He stays, gets arrested, handcuffed, taken to where the boys are gathered, and the town gathers and demands he produce a band.
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 20C)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    The second installment of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy of movies tells two stories simultaneously. While viewers watch the moral and familial demise of the mafia don Michael Corleone in the mid-1950s, they see intertwined flashbacks from the early twentieth century when Michael’s father, the original Godfather Vito Corleone, steadily rose from a penniless Italian immigrant to a powerful, respected, and feared figure. The key moment when young Vito’s life turned the corner from poverty to (ill-gotten) riches is curious. Vito and two friends had begun to do well for themselves in thievery and stealing things like designer dresses–so well, in fact, as to attract the attention of the local mafia boss, Don Fanucci, who was known as “the Black Hand.” Don Fanucci approaches Vito and says, “I hear you and your two friends were recently involved in some shenanigans which netted you $600 each.” The don then demands some protection money, telling Vito that he needs to wet his beak a bit to the tune of $200 from each of the three men. The subtext of this “request” was clear: “Pay up or else!”...
  • All the Small Things

    by Todd Weir
    There is a book called “The Power of the Small,” by Linda Kaplan Thayer. She is an advertising executive responsible for campaigns like the Aflac duck, and “I’m a ToysRUs kid.” The book is full of lovely anecdotes where being kind, offering encouragement to your co-workers, thanking people, and being grateful make a huge difference. She tells the story of a hairdresser who was passionate about making people look good. She cut a man’s hair and he felt so good about it, people complimented him, and he started feeling more confident. He credits that hair-cut and that hair dresser for launching his career. As I read the 5 star reviews, I thought, “Are these small actions enough, especially in the face of climate change as hurricane winds obliterate homes of hundreds of thousands, as major cities like Jakarta sink, and crops in Africa burn to a crisp, while crops in Iowa flood away. Are small things enough in the face of rising white nationalism and multiplying swamp monsters of corruption in our government? It's hard to keep the faith in the power of small things in light of the massive challenges...
  • Subverting the Justice of This World

    by Fritz Wendt
    German writer Heinrich Böll tells the story of how wealthy landowners somewhere in Europe during the 19th century exploited poor peasants. While the adults go to work in the flax sheds owned by the wealthy Balek family, the children gather wild mushrooms, truffles, and herbs from the forest. As they take their produce to a weighing station at the château owned by the Baleks, the children receive a few pennies for the items depending on the bulk weight, determined by an ornate and beautiful set of balance scales; for generations, people have been told that anyone acquiring their own set of scales will not be permitted to work for the Baleks or anyone else ever again. One evening, while Frau Balek is in another room, one of the poor children begins playing with the scales’ weights and accidentally discovers that they are off in the favor of the Baleks...
  • The Sure Thing

    by Carl Wilton
    There’s a story of Henry Ford — inventor of the automobile — that’s oddly similar to this parable. I have no idea if this incident really happened: but if itdidn’t, it should have!In 1912, Henry Ford did visit Ireland, the home of his ancestors. The story goes that, while he was staying in Cork, a couple trustees of the local hospital paid him a call.“Mr. Ford, we’re building a hospital here in Cork, and we think it would be a marvelous memorial to your dear departed father — who left his native land for the fair shores of America — if you would make a gift to support this worthy ndeavor!”The great Henry Ford took out his checkbook. He handed over a check for £5,000 on the spot.The next morning, at breakfast, he opened the local newspaper, and saw the banner headline: “American Millionaire Gives Fifty Thousand to Local Hospital.”Ford wasted no time in summoning the two hospital trustees. He waved the newspaper in their faces. “What’s the meaning of this?” he demanded.“Mr. Ford, we apologize. Such a regrettable error! But not to worry: we can fix it. We’ll get the editor to print a retraction in the very next edition, declaring that the great Henry Ford has given not fifty thousand, but five.”Ford again pulled out his checkbook. He wrote out a check for £45,000, and handed it to them: but he didn’t let go. “I am making this further gift under one condition,” he told them. “You must erect a marble arch at the new hospital entrance, and place upon it a plaque that contains this verse from the Bible: “I was a stranger and you took me in.”

Other New Resources

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Recommended Resources

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Notes and Quotes on Sunday's Gospel

    Compiled by Francis Chisholm
  • The Accused Economist

    by D. Mark Davis
    includes lots of Greek exegesis!
  • The Dishonest Steward

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    Winter had come early that year to Philadelphia. A girl of about eight and her mother had sought relief from the cold winds and snow in a crowded F. W. Woolworth store. Their thin, shabby coats provided little protection from the elements; despite the warmth of the store, both were shivering." and another illustration
  • The Unjust Steward

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together. The grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth..." and other illustrations
  • The Love of a Landlord

    by Sil Galvan
    Henry Ford was visiting his family's ancestral village in Ireland when two trustees of the local hospital found out he was there, and managed to get in to see him. They talked him into giving the hospital five thousand dollars..." and another illustration
  • Proper 20C

    by Bill Loader
    (good insights!!)
  • Connections That Count

    by James Standiford
    "Dante writes of our human connections very pointedly. In “Canto 10” of Inferno, he meets Farinata. These two fall into a “My daddy can lick your daddy” argument. These two fall into a 'My daddy can lick your daddy' argument. Their relationship is party politics, mere rivalry to the hilt. There is no connection between them..." and several other good illustrations - recommended!!
  • Exegetical Notes (Luke 16:1-13)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    always good exegesis!!
  • A "Shrewd" Manager

    Illustration by Arlin Talley
    I was an auto mechanic for 11 years before I returned to full time ministry. With some other men in the church I was attending, I helped to start a ministry we called Resu-Wreck. We'd take repairable automobiles given to us or purchased for very little, fix them up and give or sell them at very low prices to people who had no car.
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 25C)

    by Various Authors
    lots of good stuff here!

Illustrated Resources from 2016 to 2018

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Making a Shrewd Investment

    by Sylvia Alloway
    Morgan Stanley bank is big, one the of the world’s largest providers of financial services. It is well known world-wide. So it would make sense that, when investing its employees’ retirement funds, it would know how to use the money for the best return. A recent class action suit challenges that idea. Employees are suing the bank, claiming that Morgan Stanley invested their 401(k) funds in the bank’s own business interests. The investments performed poorly, as much as 99% below similar funds invested by other banks. The legal question to be decided: Whose benefit comes first? As a bank, Morgan Stanley is allowed to put its own interests above the customers’. But as an employer, the law says it must put the employees’ financial welfare first.
  • Catch 'Em (or Him) All

    by Jim Chern
    Starting my 9th year working in Campus Ministry, its hard to say that I'm surprised by much anymore. So when those moments happen, they are a bit more surprising. This past Monday night was one of those memorable moments. I was asking the members of a fraternity what they did over the summer. Expecting variations of stories about places they traveled, classes they took, jobs they held - I wasn't prepared for this answer- I was obsessed playing Pokemon Go...
  • Facing Forward

    by Jim Eaton
    The movie Scully is a simple story of a 208-second long flight that began as an ordinary trip from LaGuardia airport to Charlottesville, VA. The flight departed at 3:25 PM. Three minutes into the flight, when the airplane was still under 10,000 feet, the magic ended. Hit by a flock of birds, both engines died. The airplane was powerless; decisions had to be made. The recipe said to return to the airport and land the plane. At first, Captain Sullenberger, the pilot announced he was taking this option but within seconds he realized it wouldn’t work. Moments later he committed to landing the aircraft on the Hudson River off Manhattan. Water landings are extremely difficult but Sullenberger believed that although this wasn’t the right answer, it was the right course of action...
  • Proper 20C (2016)

    by Scott Hoezee
    The second installment of Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather trilogy of movies tells two stories simultaneously. While viewers watch the moral and familial demise of the mafia don Michael Corleone in the mid-1950's, they see intertwined with this flashbacks from the early twentieth century when Michael's father, the original Godfather Vito Corleone, steadily rose from a penniless Italian immigrant to a powerful, respected, and feared figure. The key moment when young Vito's life turned the corner from poverty to (ill-gotten) riches is curious...
  • Yin Yoga and the Power of Parable

    by Janet Hunt
    And so as I have forced myself to lay this parable alongside my life in these last days--- holding the pose, if you will --- I have found myself extremely uncomfortable. This is so, I expect, in part because the main character is entirely unsavory. First he is wasteful. Then he is conniving. And through it all he is entirely self serving. His behavior here runs contrary to everything I have been taught to be and do. And yet, if I am honest, I expect my discomfort runs deeper than that. For you see, when I "hold the pose" for a while, I realize that I, too, can be much like the steward before us now.
  • God Is Good All of the Time

    by Deon Johnson
    There is a wonderful scene in C.S. Lewis’s famous novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where Lucy, the youngest the children to cross into the magical world of Narnia, converses with Mr. Beaver. In this magical land of talking animals and evil queens, Lucy feels both wonder and fear after hearing about Aslan, the original Lion King, who rules over the lands of Narnia. Lucy inquires of Mr. Beaver, “Is he quite safe?” to which the industrious rodent replies with an air of indignation “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe! But he’s good.” Much like Lucy wants to know that the ruler of her mystical realm of Narnia is safe, we want our God and our faith to be safe and comforting, making no great demands of our time or treasure. But if we pay close attention to our Gospel for today, we quickly realize that Jesus is far from safe, but is always good and full of surprises...
  • Glenn, The Mayor of Woodhaven

    by Terrance Klein
    Years ago, after my father had lost the grocery store and had gone to work as a custodian at the parish, he would discuss his day at the dinner table. People used to do that. I should have paid more attention because he was usually talking about something that had broken down, something I’ve now inherited.
  • Being Faithful in Much

    by Karoline Lewis
    A few years ago, I gave up on the idea of balance. Balance is a myth.1 It is simply not possible to keep the important things in your life in perfect balance every day, all the time. At the same time, maintaining balance has become another mark of achievement in ministry. “Look at how well she is able to balance her personal life and the demands of the church! How does she do it all?” Have we ever stopped to think about how absurd that sounds? How ridiculous that really is in real life? Do you ever wonder that if people actually got a glimpse of “how you do it all” your ability to do effective ministry could be called into question?
  • Defrauding for Jesus

    by Jim McCrea
    Referring to today’s parable, Don Hoffman writes, “I think Jesus is telling us we’re in the Forgiving Business. Our business is forgiving others. We’re supposed to forgive their money debts. We’re supposed to forgive their insults. We’re supposed to forgive their bad behavior. […] We’re supposed to forgive family members when they squander resources. We’re supposed to forgive people for being stupid. We’re supposed to forgive people who disagree with us, theologically, or politically, or over what color to paint the basement. We’re supposed to forgive people for all the right reasons and for all the wrong reasons. Just do it. Forgive!
  • Mammon

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Watts' Mammon bears at least a passing resemblance to Jabba the Hutt. He sits on his throne with a nude young woman to his right and a young man under his feet. His throne, upholstered in red features two skulls as finials. His crown features gold coins and donkey ears, references to Midas in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Most know Midas from his "touch" that turned everything, including his daughter, into gold. Through Ovid's pen, we hear that Apollo gave Midas the donkey ears as a symbol of his stupidity because he preferred the music of Pan's pipes to Apollo's lyre.
  • The Risks That Make You Rich

    by Nancy Rockwell
    The fall elections are all about this story. One candidate, a business man, has made a fortune from many business ventures that he started, and when they failed he went to bankruptcy court for protection. There is even a University that made a boodle of bucks and never issued a degree. All of this is legal, says the candidate. And he is right about the law. But that was no consolation to the small business folks who did business with his failed businesses, and never got paid for their work, because bankruptcy court protects the wealthy from their debts. Another candidate may have traded her influence in the world of power for big bucks donated to projects for the poor. Or she may not have. It may just look as if that were possible. Maybe nothing happened. In any case, as the candidate says, nothing she did was illegal. And she is right about that.
  • Honesty as Sobriety

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    One of the qualities that endeared Henri Nouwen to the world was precisely his honesty about his own weaknesses and his refusal to pretend he was anything other than what he was: a sincere, weak man struggling to live his life in honesty. For example, there were seasons in his life when he wouldn’t go on the road alone to give talks and conferences. Partly his reason for this had to do with his sense of community and his desire to bring a core member from his community along with him. Part of his reason though was more humble. He was also honest enough not to always fully trust himself to travel alone. The presence of family and community around us can be a powerful moral watchdog on our behavior.
  • Work Like the Who?

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    Dan Miller in his book No More Dreaded Mondays tells a delightful story about a farmer many years ago in a village in India who had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to the village moneylender. The old and ugly moneylender fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter, so he proposed a bargain. He would forgive the farmer's debt if he could marry the farmer's daughter.

    Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal, but the cunning moneylender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. The girl would have to reach in and pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble, she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven. If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail until the debt was paid.

  • Images of the Parables

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Greed

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from 2010 to 2015

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • The Dishonest Steward

    by Phil Bloom
    A man I know suffered a public disgrace. It cost him his job and even merited an article in the local newspaper. I prayed for my friend; I also asked myself what I would do in his shoes. I concluded that I would crawl into a hole and try not to show my face in public. Well, I called my friend and - to my surprise - found out he was doing the exact opposite.
  • Proper 20C (2013)

    by Cathi Braasch
    Back on September 15, 2008, this Sunday's parable about a dishonest manager, a shrewd response, honor, trust and priorities, came to life once again. It began with the unimaginable, the record-shattering bankruptcy filing by Lehman Brothers. The dominos kept falling along Wall Street and Main Streets, putting whole nations and whole households in grave financial peril.
  • Jesus, The Rogue Rabbi

    by Thomas Brackett
    In 2004, an Australian that goes by the name of Juan Mann showed up at a party severely depressed and lonely. He recalls how that a random hug from a total stranger that night made him, in his words, 'feel like a king'! It was the greatest thing that had ever happened to him. After that experience, he makes a sign offering 'Free Hugs' and holds it up as an invitation at his local mall.
  • Proper 20C (2013)

    by Delmer Chilton and John Fairless
    "Most of us will not this week christen a ship, write a book, end a war, appoint a cabinet, dine with the queen, convert a nation, or be burned at the stake. More likely the week will present no more than the chance to give a cup of water, write a note, visit a nursing home, teach a Sunday school class, share a meal, tell a child a story, go to choir practice, and feed the neighbor's cat..." and other quotes
  • Immortal Value

    by Tom Cox
    Part of me always remembers a teacher holding up a newly printed 1 pound note in our Secondary School. 'What do I have here boys?' Even in what seemed like perpetual recession in Ireland, all of us little budding capitalists answered 'a £1 note.' He shook his head 'no- what I have here is a pound of trust'. There then followed a pep talk on trust and responsibility.
  • The Parable of the Dishonest Steward

    by Denis Hanley, MM
    I remember when I first came to Hong Kong, I was going to go out and buy something jade and about three people stopped me right away and they said if you don’t know jade you’ll be paying for nothing and you’ll spend a lot of money. You need someone who knows jade. And, if you know jade, you belong to a certain kind of group of special people. Anyhow, the young boy goes up to the master of the jade market and he wants to learn how to make beautiful things. Now, to make beautiful things is this, he wants to make them out of jade. And so the sifu, the head one, he takes a stone and he puts it in his hand and he says, “Okay, go out and do whatever you like, go wherever you want, do anything at all, but don’t let go of this stone.” So the boy goes out, comes back a week later, and the man looks at the stone and he still has it...
  • Faithfulness Is Everything

    by John Jewell
    Often, when he came to visit, my grandfather would bring me a present. Once he brought me a little paper cup. I looked inside it expecting something special. It was full of dirt. I was not allowed to play with dirt. Disappointed, I told him this. He smiled at me fondly. Turning, he picked up the little teapot from my dolls' tea set and took me to the kitchen where he filled it with water.
  • Dishonesty Pays

    by Robert Kitchen
    A long story thanks to the memory of Scott Hoezee, though many of you saw it in The Godfather movies. Vito Corleone, father of Michael Corleone, and two Italian immigrant friends had begun to fashion a business - and attracted the attention of the local mafia boss, Don Fanucci, known as "the Black Hand." Don Fanucci approaches Vito and says, "I hear you and your two friends were recently involved in some shenanigans which netted you $600 each." The don demands some protection money, he needs to wet his beak - $200 from each of the three men. An offer they could not refuse...
  • Stewards of the Land

    by Terrence Klein
    Family lore says that my grandfather, Ludwig Anton Klein, spoke eleven languages. Unfortunately, they didn't include English. He sold his accordion on the lower east side of Manhattan and used the money to purchase a train ticket. He was searching for a relative who farmed in Oklahoma. The ticket took my grandfather as far as Cincinnati; from there, he walked to Oklahoma.
  • The Good Example of the Dishonest

    by Jim McCrea
    In 1972, Robert Redford starred as Bill McKay in a movie called The Candidate. McKay is a young lawyer in California, who is recruited to run for the U.S. Senate against the long-time incumbent. McKay begins the race filled with ideals about helping the poor and bringing honesty back into the system. However, before long, his underdog candidacy leads him to manufacture a marketable image that becomes more and more disconnected from who he really is.
  • The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

    by Philip McLarty
    I'm told this is a true story. There was a middle-aged man working as a night clerk in a small hotel in New York City. An elderly couple came in late one night looking for a room. The man said, "We haven't been able to find a room anywhere. You're our last hope." "Sorry," the clerk said, "We're all full up." The couple stood there helplessly. Then the clerk said, "You're welcome to stay in my room if you like. I'll be down here all night." The man said, "I'll pay you double the going rate." The clerk replied, "Oh, no you won't. I'll be honored to treat you as my guests." With that, they took their bags up to the room and got a good night's sleep. Two years later, this same elderly gentleman came to the hotel in the early morning hours, just as the clerk was getting off work. "Come with me," he said. "There's something I want to show you." They got into a stretch limousine parked out front and drove a short distance across Manhattan. The driver stopped in front of a towering new hotel within weeks of opening its doors for the first time. "It's called the Waldorf-Astoria," the man said. Then putting out his hand he said, "My name is William Waldorf Astor and I'd like you to be my general manager."
  • Ordinary 25C

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    "There is a great film -- if you haven't seen it, you must. It's called Trading Places and it came out about 12 years ago. It has Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase and Holly Hunter. And, OK, most of it is just a pretty ordinary romantic comedy. But I think it is a great film, because it contains just one moment of greatness -- a moment of redemption...."
  • A Flawed, Curious, Hopeful, Forgiving Human

    by Larry Patten
    I read again James Breech's chapter on Luke 16:1-13 in his extraordinary The Silence of Jesus. Much of my thoughts regarding this parable can be attributed to Breech. Breech suggested this: 'the narrative focuses on the issue of trust: the rich man is not primarily concerned about his possessions, but about the steward whom he has entrusted to be responsible for them.
  • Proper 20C (2010)

    by John Petty
    In psychology, there is a therapeutic approach called 'paradoxical intention'. Sometimes this is called 'prescribing the symptom'. Here's an example: A colleague of mine once had a pre-school age boy as a client. His presenting problem was temper tantrums.
  • The Dishonest Manager in All of Us

    by Whitney Rice
    What exactly is it that the manager does that is unethical or wrong? He forgives the clients' debts. Uh-oh. That sort of rings a bell, doesn't it? Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. This parable is about forgiveness! Ding, ding, ding! Come on down, solver of the Million Dollar Parable, and receive your all-expense paid trip to further spiritual confusion.
  • God and Mammon

    by Nancy Rockwell
    In his movie, Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen tells the tale of Jeanette, who has been the wife of a man like Madoff, and now is struggling to survive without money, after his fall. She staggers through other worlds, clinging to her delusion that she can still live in the world to which she no longer has any access. Jeanette is wholly focused on finding a way back to the world of money.
  • Clapton, Blues and Conversion

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    Recently some friends gave me the autobiography of Eric Clapton. I generally shun the biographies of the rich and famous, but his story interested me. Eric Clapton is perhaps the best blues guitar player in the world, I have been a long-time fan of his music, and I knew nothing about his life. So I picked up the book. I wasn't disappointed. The book gives all kinds of insights into the inner world of rock music.
  • Taking Stock

    by Alex Thomas
    A number of years ago, 1,400 Chicagoans met in the grand ballroom of a large hotel to honour the mother of the year. She turned out to be a woman no one had heard of. She was Mrs. Dominic Salvino, an Italian immigrant, a housewife and extremely poor. Mrs. Savino lived on Erie Street. She had many neighbours who were poorer than she was. So Mrs. Savino appointed herself an unofficial, untrained social worker and assigned herself to Erie Street. She visited the sick. She collected money from the comparatively poor and gave it to the desperately poor..." and other quotes

Illustrated Resources from 2007 to 2009

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • The Dishonest Manager

    by Mickey Anders
    In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Newman and Redford played two Western outlaws who led a gang of cutthroat robbers. They were such delightful characters that I found myself rooting for them even though they were robbing banks and trains. I was hoping they would escape when the railroad tycoon organized a special posse of experts to hunt them down.
  • Proper 20C (2007)

    by Sarah Dylan Breuer
    The landowner doesn't really know or care about what goes on at the farm as long as the rents come in. Such a view reminds me of the satirical one in the Michelle Shocked song: 'God is a real estate developer with offices 'round the nation They say one day he'll liquidate his holdings up on high I say it's all speculation.
  • A Personal Investment

    by Tom Cox
    The first Communicant was busy opening cards from relatives and neighbours after the ceremony. All but one had the inevitable money gift enclosed. She shook the offending empty envelope again but to no avail and declared 'this one doesn't work'.
  • Ordinary 25C (2007)

    by Andrew Greeley
    Once upon a time there was an eighth grader who was a great, great quarterback. Everyone said he'd be varsity in his sophomore year, he was go good. They even said that when he graduated from high school he might go to Notre Dame where they specialize in ruining potentially great quarterbacks. Well, the kid was really good, but he was also really lazy...
  • Proper 20C (2007)

    by Cole Gruberth
    A recent issue of Time magazine featured a cover story about Mother Teresa and her long struggle with a sort of spiritual dry spell, one that lasted for many years up until her death. Her confidential letters to her spiritual directors have now been published - against her stated wishes, by the way, and they reveal that she felt, in her own words, 'darkness and coldness and emptiness … so great that nothing touches my soul.'
  • A Questionable Shift in Managerial Style

    by Dee Dee Haines
    "Stephen J. Patterson reminds us, 'The Wisdom of Jesus is first and foremost about the reversal of common values. The Empire of God calls for a reordering of human-life relationships that places those who are valued least in the world at the very center.'...."
  • What's Our Business?

    by Donald Hoffman
    "150 years ago life in Ireland was terrible. All the countryside was owned by absentee landlords, robber barons living the fat life in England, while their Irish tenant-farmers starved. Since the landlord almost never wanted to go to his estate, with its disgusting, dirty peasants, he employed an agent, a steward, a manager to run the business, collect the rents and the debt payments, and forward the earnings on to the boss far away..." and other quotes
  • Get on the Ball!

    by Paul Larsen
    There is an amusing story told by Jay Wilkinson, son of the famous football coach Bud Wilkinson. Jay ran for Congress some years ago. Many people thought he would win easily. After all, Jay Wilkinson was an All-American at Duke who married a Miss America finalist after graduating from Harvard Divinity School.
  • God and Money

    by David Martyn
    "Let me tell you another story told by Naomi Klein, in her just published book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Two years ago Hurricane Katrina struck the city of New Orleans...." and another illustration
  • Ordinary 25C

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    "When I was in the second year of the Jesuit Novitiate, I got to be quite ambitious. I had the chance to get a job that I really wanted to have: It was the job of House Treasurer, the man in charge of the money..."
  • Shrewd Faith

    by Beth Quick
    John Wesley, very early in his ministry, fixed a budget for himself to live on, setting aside a certain amount to save, an amount to give to the poor, and so on. Over the years, his resources expanded. He had income from preaching and teaching.
  • Making Friends

    by Martin Singley
    Maybe it's sort of like the story I heard about a woman who attended a fundraiser for an organization that serves kids with muscular dystrophy. The place needed a swimming pool so the kids could get water therapy, and you know how expensive indoor pools are! But while the woman listened to the story, her heart was moved and she took out her checkbook and wrote a check.
  • What in the World?!

    by Beverly Snedeker
    A man once caught stealing was ordered by the king to be hanged. On the way to the gallows he said to the governor that he knew a wonderful secret and it would be a pity to allow it to die with him and he would like to disclose it to the king. He would put a seed of a pomegranate in the ground and through the secret taught to him by his father he would make it grow and bear fruit overnight.
  • Laughing in Our Hearts

    by Alex Thomas
    Michel Quoist had a wonderful prayer that he wrote few years ago A Prayer before a Twenty Dollar Bill. Here it is in part: 'Lord see this bill! It frightens me. You know it's secrets, you know it's history. How heavy it is! It scares me, for it cannot speak, It will never tell all it hides in its creases.
  • Living with Our Choices

    by Keith Wagner
    When I hear this story it reminds me of my career in business. Before I entered the ministry I worked for a company that distributed medical supplies and equipment. At one point I was a regional comptroller. My job was to travel to different branches and straighten out their books.
  • Squandering and Scattering

    by Jo Bailey Wells
    Ched Myers would describe the principles for which the dishonest manager is congratulated in terms of keeping money moving. Money is a resource so long as it is given or spent—scattered or broadcast—especially for providing to those in need and releasing people from debt. Thus it builds the kingdom of God.

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • The Parable of the Unjust Steward

    by Sarah Dylan Breuer
    Why forgive the debts of debtor nations? In America, we could forgive other nations their debts for the reason Bono cited in his appearance on the O'Reilly Factor: to raise or maintain the value of the American brand, letting the rest of the world associate 'USA' with health and freedom. Or we could do it because of what Jesus said about forgiving debts.
  • Shrewd Investment

    by Jennifer Copeland
    Stanley Hauerwas' 2001 Gifford Lectures were published as With the Grain of the Universe, The title comes from an essay by John Howard Yoder that includes these words; "People who bear crosses are working with the grain of the universe."...
  • Eternal Affairs

    by Tom Cox
    Money: an article which may be used as a universal passport to everywhere except heaven, and as a universal provider of everything except happiness.
  • The Smart Servant

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    An angel appears at a faculty meeting and tells the dean that he has come to reward him for his years of devoted service. He was asked to choose one of three blessings: either infinite wealth, or infinite fame or infinite wisdom. Without hesitation, the dean asks for infinite wisdom. 'You got it!' says the angel, and disappears.
  • Fidelity in the Small Things

    by James Farfaglia
    Clarence Jordan was a man of unusual abilities and commitment. He had two Ph.D.s, one in agriculture and one in Greek and Hebrew. So gifted was he, he could have chosen to do anything he wanted. He chose to serve the poor. In the 1940s, he founded a farm in Americus, Georgia, and called it Koinonia Farm.
  • Jesus Cheated?

    Narrative Sermon by Patricia Gillespie
    "Greetings, strangers. Welcome to the market place. My name is Akhi, and I am a beggar. All day long I sit here in the market place, and I beg. People push and shove. They buy and sell. But Akhi, he sits and begs..."
  • Making Friends with Money

    by Alex Gondola
    "When I picture this 'rich man', I think of Donald Trump, the billionaire developer from the TV show The Apprentice. Last season, 'The Donald' sent apprentices off on sometimes-silly assignments to see how much money they could make. In the process, his apprentices pulled some pretty shady deals..."
  • Ordinary 25 (2004)

    by Andrew Greeley
    Once upon a time two girls joined Molly Whoopy’s girl’s basketball team at Mother Mary High School. They were very good players, but they didn’t like to practice hard. One of them became a starter and the other sixth person. During games they played real hard, but because they didn’t practice much and didn’t listen to the coach’s talks, and made all kinds of mistakes.
  • Ordinary 25 (2001)

    by Andrew Greeley
    This is a story about a shrewd daughter-in-law. Once upon a time there were three adult children who continued, even after they were grown and away from their parents, to engage in sibling rivalry. The Mom, a well–to-do widow, nurtured this rivalry by praising the good deeds of her favorite of the week to the other children.
  • Proper 20C (2004)

    by Roger Haugen
    "Garrison Keillor writes about growing up in a home filled with Christian devotion. In this case decidedly Norwegian Lutheran. He says that one of the cardinal rules of being a Lutheran was that you always bought the cheapest brand. Not a Cadillac but an Impala. And whenever you ate in a restaurant, you always ordered the cheapest thing on the menu..." and another humorous illustration
  • Jesus Is a Liberal

    by Mark Haverland
    "Cotton Mather was a religious and political leader in 17th century New England. He had a problem one winter with someone stealing wood from his woodpile. This was a serious offense in those days because wood was the only source of heat. Running out of wood could have dire consequences for a family in the harsh New England winter..."
  • Hard Heads, Soft Hearts

    by Donald Hoffman
    Once upon a time, long, long ago, the Beagle Boys captured Scrooge McDuck, and made him take them inside his great money bin. Now, everyone knows what Scrooge McDuck does in that money bin.
  • Faithful in Little, Faithful in Much

    by Brice Hughes
    Two little boys, cousins they were, having reached the age at which young boys first begin to get into mischief, were spending the summer together at their grandparents' farm. It was a magical summer, the kind of time that imprints memories to last a lifetime.
  • The Hardest Parable

    by Will Humes
    includes several quotes
  • Caught on Tape

    by John Jewell
    Al was the custodian in our church who will forever be one one of my 'most unforgettable' characters. He was remarkable in many ways, but there is one quality that stands out. He was 'faithful in a very little' and he was 'faithful also in much'. Al and his wife were simple people who lived on simple means. They did not live in the neighborhood of our church which was made up of fairly well-to-do folk.
  • Did I Hear You Correctly, Jesus?

    by Beth Johnston
    ("There was once a young couple with two lovely children. Now, as sometimes happens, this couple ended up in divorce court and the mother was awarded sole custody. The father died in strange circumstances and, in accordance with the mother's wishes , the children had no contact at all with their grandparents or uncles and aunts on their father's side of the family...")
  • Praying Authentically

    by Beth Johnston
    In 1987 the special envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Terry Waite was In Beirut negotiating for the release of hostages when he himself was captured and held for five long years and, for the most of that time, in solitary confinement. In the first year of his confinement he had nothing to read and no one to talk to.
  • Say What?!!!

    by Beth Johnston
    ("Once upon a time a young boy accompanied his father to the shopping mall. They went to the bank, the post office, the food court and then to the pet store for gerbil food. Later in the morning, as the father was consulting the list his wife had given him, he suddenly realized that he had not seen his son for several stores. He looked around. The little boy was nowhere in sight..." and other illustrations)
  • Ordinary 25C

    by Paul Larsen
    "Walt Kallastad, the pastor of the 7,000 member Church of Joy in Glendale, Arizona, tells of stopping at a gas station near the church one day. He bought some gas and picked up some pop and candy for the kids. As he walked back to the car he looked at the receipt and noticed that he had received too much change so he went back in to refund the money..." and another illustration
  • Oikonomics

    by Edward Markquart
    There was wine steward who was responsible for caring for the finest collection of wine in all of Europe, the wine cellar at the Chateau of Monaco. At that time in history, the chateau was well known for its vintage, rare wines. But the Nazis had overrun the city and now lived and dined in the chateau, expecting and wanting to drink the world’s finest vintage wines.
  • Is There No Balm in Gilead?

    by David Martyn
    John Chrysostom, it is said, had to appear before an emperor. 'Deny Christ' the emperor said. 'No' replied John. 'Then I will ban you from all of your father's land, you can never come back.' 'That is impossible, sir,' John replied, 'my Father’s is the landowner of the entire world, you cannot ban me from His land.'
  • Unrighteous Mammon

    by David Martyn
    "Any one here watch Oprah? Anyone here wish they were in the studio audience last week? For any who missed it everyone in the audience was given a $28,000 Pontiac. Although it was rumoured that Oprah had given them away—the automaker picked up all associated costs of the giveaway: the taxes, titles, shipping, manufacturing were all picked up by Pontiac..." and another illustration
  • What's Money For Anyway?

    by David Martyn
    Forrest Carter’s book, The Education of Little Tree, is an autobiographical remembrances of life growing up in the depression-era with his Cherokee Hill country grandparents. He tells the story of a Mr. Wine who taught him how to do figures, to add and multiply. And here is part of the story. "Mr. Wine gave me a pencil. It was long and yeller. There was a certain way you sharpened it, so that you didn’t make the point too thin. If you made the point too thin it would break, and you would have to sharpen it again; which used up the pencil for no need at all. Mr. Wine said the way he showed me how to sharpen the pencil was the thrifty way. He said there was a difference between being stingy and being thrifty. If you was stingy, you was as bad as some big shots which worshiped money and you would not use your money for what you had ought. He said if you was that way then money was your god, and no good would come of the whole thing. He said if you was thrifty, you used your money for what you had ought but you was not loose with it. Mr. Wine said that one habit led to another habit, and if they was bad habits, it would give you a bad character. If you was loose with your money, then you would get loose with your time, loose with your thinking and practical every, thing else. If a whole people got loose, then politicians seen they could get control. They would take over loose people and before long you had a dictator. Mr. Wine said no thrifty people was ever taken over by a dictator. Which is right."...
  • Lessons from the Terrorists

    by Jim McCrea
    When I was younger, I had terrible temper, something which caused my brother and sisters no end of fun. They loved to pick on me for the sheer entertainment value of watching my reactions. Over the years, I worked hard to control my temper and now it takes a great deal to really get my goat or even to offend me.
  • Make Hay While the Sun Shines

    by Harold McNabb
    When I was a boy of about ten, there was a television show I loved to watch. It starred Phil Silvers and was about a lovable rascal called Sgt. Bilko. He was a motor pool sergeant who along with some of his cohorts was always looking for the big score. He lived by his wits, his charm and fast talking to get him out of the trouble he always got himself and his friends into.
  • Two Cents and the Store Clerk

    by William Oldland
    There is a story about a clerk in a store out west. This clerk was not the owner. He simply worked behind the counter and assisted the customers with their purchases. One morning the clerk was helping a customer. The customer was a farmer who came into town once a month and bought his goods. He brought his whole family. They came in by wagon. For the family a trip to town was a big deal. The farmer and his wife had their shopping list and were picking out their items with the help of the clerk. Meanwhile the children were running around the store picking up items, trying to get into the candy jars, and looking at various toys and things. In other words, the scene was a bit chaotic. Well, the family was purchasing some dry goods, beans, flour, sugar, and other items. Unlike today where everything is weighed on calibrated digital scales, the young man had an old balance scale. The customer had a large order. The clerk was dutifully weighing each item and figuring out the cost using pencil and paper. After he totaled the purchases, even amongst all the confusion, the family loaded up the wagon and began the long trip home. The ride would take several hours. The clerk started to clean up the store. Near the end of the day the clerk picked up the paper where he did his figuring. His eyes fell on the receipt he had made for the farmer and his family. He immediately realized he had overcharged the family. His figures were off by two cents. Now, what were his options? He could have left well enough alone and given the owner of the store the extra money. He could have changed the receipt and pocketed the two cents. He could wait until he saw the farmer again and if he remembered give him the two cents. Instead, the clerk corrected the receipt, took the two cents, and even though it was getting dark, rode out to the farmer's house and gave him back the two cents. He didn't get home until late...
  • You Can Not Serve God and Wealth

    by William Oldland
    The surroundings were a railway station under German occupation in World War II. The train sitting in the station under a scorching sun is filled with Jews on their way to Auschwitz. They are hungry, tired, but most of all thirsty. The SS guards are laughing at the Jewish prisoners packed in the cars. Arriving at the yard is a man by the name of Oskar Schindler.
  • Duke of Willington

    from Our Daily Bread
    Godfrey Davis, who wrote a biography about the Duke of Willington, said, 'I found an old account ledger that showed how the Duke spent his money. It was a far better clue to what he thought was really important than the reading of his letters or speeches.
  • Polite Salesman

    from Our Daily Bread
    Faithfulness in duties we think are of minimal importance proves our readiness for larger tasks. Charles M. Schwab told of a prosperous man who started out in his youth as a poorly paid helper in a department store. One rainy day when business was slow, the employees gathered in a corner to discuss the current baseball situation.
  • Wheeling and Dealing

    by John Pavelko
    On the morning of his 16th birthday Alan woke up the moment his alarm clock sounded. He sprung out of bed with the energy of a hyper-teenager. The day that he had been waiting for had finally arrived. He wondered what his parent's birthday present would be-a new car or a new sailboat. Alan's family was quite wealthy and the purchase of either would not have placed a strain on the family budget.
  • Parable of the Dishonest Manager

    by Michael Phillips
    One of my favorite books is George Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck follows the Joad's, a family of Okies, on a trek to California after losing everything in the stock market crash and the Dust Bowl. As they are talking about their predicament, an observation is made by one of the men.
  • Redemptive Value

    by Stephen Portner
    In a recent article Dr. James Dobson was asked, 'What has caused many members of the younger generation to be so violent?' He responded: 'Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in research to answer that question. The findings are startling.
  • The Virtue of Shrewdness

    by Beth Quick
    James Howell confesses that he is a 'genius at leaving undone those thing [he] ought to have done. We stewards have squandered our master's gifts'. He continues, 'You may hear a sermon and think, 'I'll go home and be Mother Teresa. I won't be materialistic any longer. I'll pray five times daily for an hour. I'll be a saint.' But you won't make it past lunchtime.
  • Where Are You Investing God's Money?

    by Ron Ritchie
    Robert Maxwell, the publishing magnate, was head of the renowned Maxwell publishing empire, headquartered in England. We have seen him featured on the TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, with his unseemly wealth-houses, planes and boats, and his many business ventures. He appeared to be a very shrewd businessman-a genius, if we are to believe the published accounts.
  • What Is Money For?

    by Ray Stedman
    "A few weeks ago I ran across a little book by C. S. Lewis called A Grief Observed. It is the diary he kept a few years ago following the death of his wife, in which he jotted down the thoughts and reactions that were his during the stress and pain of those days. It is written in the brilliant, sparkling style that we associate with C. S. Lewis, but its atmosphere is somber and sad, and there is remarkably little of faith in it, until the end of the book..." and another short illustration
  • The Deep, Vocational Question

    by Alex Thomas
    In the late sixties I heard the story told by the Jack Woodard. Jack said that he was the visiting preacher in a church somewhere in the U.S. and after the service as he was shaking hands with parishioners at the door in what some people call the 'glad hand' part of the service, a gentleman who had been in the congregation said that he had a serious problem.
  • Under the Threat of Evaluation

    by Alex Thomas
    Carolyn Hughes tells in a book Threshold of God's Future that she wrote with John Westerhoff of an incident at one of her workshops. She was talking about exercising our ministry these three areas of our life and was saying that it was impossible to act completely responsible in all three areas at the same time. At times our personal and family life takes precedent.
  • Big Faith, Little Faith

    by Keith Wagner
    Diane Rayner tells the story about two families in San Francisco. One family had emigrated from Japan and the other from Switzerland. The two families were neighbors. The family from Japan grew roses and the family from Switzerland marketed roses. They both were very successful and had a good reputation in the San Francisco area.
  • It's the Little Things That Count

    by Keith Wagner
    Some people do take the high road. For example: William Colgate came to the United States at the age of 20 in the year 1803. He was an apprentice at a New York City candle and soap making company.
  • Living a Debt Free Life

    by Keith Wagner
    Last Monday the stock market opened after being closed for three days. The nation was worried that a market crash would follow the tragedy that so painfully struck our nation on September 11th. Many investors were worried. We had already suffered enough, losing even more would be like rubbing salt in the wounds. On the evening before the reopening of the market, Warren Buffet, one of the most wealthiest men in the world, announced that he would not sell any stock.
  • Proper 20C (2004)

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    A robber whose conscience got the better of him gave his loot back to the Victoria store he stole it from. 'I know what I did was very wrong,' the anonymous robber wrote in a letter to Sooter Studios, a photographic studio that was held up. 'Enclosed you will find every cent I took from your store.'
  • The Future and What To Do About It

    by William Willimon
    In Florida, a pastor told me about her church. Her church had once been a great congregation in the heart of the city. But the city changed, the neighborhood declined, and now the congregation was made up mostly of those who commuted in on Sundays from the suburbs. Like many such congregations, they had a problem with vagrants, homeless men around the church.
  • The Sure Thing

    by Carl Wilton
    This morning's New York Times Magazine tells of an offering of stock last August 9th, from a start-up software company. With no track record of profits and few assets, this company's first-time stock offering was presented to Wall Street with a solemn disclaimer that the company had little in the way of cash, and no profits were expected for the foreseeable future.
  • Jesus' Sense of Humor

    by Tim Zingale
    "There was a certain labor racketeer who had grown rich on sweetheart contracts and in the use of pension fund money. One day he found that the F.B.I. was tailing him and he began to suspect that there was no escape for him. So what did he do? Carefully he put a large sum of money in a Swiss bank...." and other illustrations

Other Resources from 2016 to 2018

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Other Resources from 2013 to 2015

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Other Resources from 2010 to 2012

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Other Resources from 2007 to 2009

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Other Resources from 2004 to 2006

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Other Resources from 2001 to 2003

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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The Classics

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Recursos en Español

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Currently Unavailable

  • Ordinary 25

    by Alex McAllister
  • In Praise of Shrewdness

    by David Russell
    "An athletic director at a major university had been approached by various shoe companies, eager to have the university sign a contract for all of its teams to wear their brand of shoes and sportswear. Unknown to most people, the athletic director was about to lose his job in a scandal that was about to break. But before the story came to light, he agreed to a multi-year contract on behalf of the university..." and other illustrations
  • Propio 20C

    por Sandra T. Montes
  • Proper 20

    by Alexander Shaia
  • The Naming of the Shrewd

    by David Risendal