Thursday 03 September 2015

Bible Book:

“And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.” (v. 8)

Luke 16:1-13 Thursday 3 September 2015

Psalm: Psalm 81


Let us face the fact, from the beginning, thatthere is something quite shocking about this story. A great deal ofeffort has been expended to explain why the actions of the managerwere somehow acceptable in Jesus' world. But verse 8 makes itcompletely clear that the whole point of the parable is that themanager is dishonest. And dishonesty was just as much a problem inJesus' world as it is today.

The manager's problem was greater than we mightimagine. To be in the position to administer his master's wealth ashe does, he was almost certainly either a slave or what the Romanscalled a 'freed-man', that is a former slave who was still trustedto manage his former owner's wealth. Even if he didn't have areputation for dishonesty there was simply no way that he couldfind another, similar position. To lose his master's trust meantthat he faced ruin and (as his musings in the parable make clear)had few options, all of which were undesirable. He would also haveknown that the agreements made by a freed man or slave werecompletely binding upon the master.

And his answer is to abuse his master's trust evenfurther. So why does Jesus commend him? He is a good example, notbecause of his dishonesty, but because he is shrewd. He isfarsighted enough to treat money as a tool to ensure that he willhave friendships that will last (verse 9).

Note that in the next verse Jesus goes on todescribe wealth itself as 'dishonest'. At least one strand ofbiblical teaching invites us to remember that wealth can have itsown power over us, love of money can lead us away from God and weneed to be reminded that there are more important things inlife.

To Ponder

  • How do you respond to Jesus commendation of someone who wasfundamentally dishonest?
  • In what ways can you use your material resources to buildfriendships or the kingdom of God today?
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