Joshua 7:16-9:2; Luke 16:1-18; Psalm 82:1-8; Proverbs 13:2-3
I must confess that Jesus’ parable about the shrewd manager really puzzled me today. I looked at several online commentaries to help me along. Here’s what I came up with:
Clue #1 God’s ways are not the world’s ways. “The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.” Luke 16:8
Jesus doesn’t condone shrewd, unethical behavior here. He’s pointing out that faithless acts lead to faithless acts. What else can be expected from this world? Should we be surprised at the greedy, self-indulgent practices of those who put themselves first, customers second, God nowhere on the list? The shrewd manager’s tactics were meant to save his own skin–and his soon-to-be ex boss admired him for it! No matter. He’d still be fired. That’s the way of the world.
Clue #2 Jesus wants us to be found faithful in our use of the resources He’s blessed us with. He wants us to see Mammon in it’s proper perspective–not on a pedestal –but as a tool to help and serve others. “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” Luke 16:9
Clue #3 What was true for Jesus’ hearers then–his disciples, the Pharisees, “sinners”– is just as true for us today. “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other . You cannot serve God and money.” Luke 16:13
I think we are all tempted to consider the wealth of this world as the end all, be all to life. We see enough attention paid to money everywhere we look. It’s hard NOT to hear it’s siren call.
The world may reward shrewdness, but not God. He looks into our hearts and desires to find devotion to Him.
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Lord God, you are our greatest treasure–you are our life. Forgive us for selling out to the world’s call to grab as much as we can in this life; for believing that this world is all that there is; for spending our time scheming how to get more rather than trusting you to ‘give us this day our daily bread.’ Help us, we pray, to be found faithful in whatever you deem right to give us–whether a little or a lot and to be good stewards of all your good gifts–especially your grace and mercy. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this parable–it’s a doozie! 🙂