How Shrewd

Today’s reading is Luke 16.

I admit it; what we call “The Parable of the Dishonest Manager” or “The Parable of the Unrighteous Steward” is, to me, the oddest of Jesus’s parable. Here is a person so absolutely opposite of everything Jesus teaches held up as some kind of example. He is a terrible steward. Then as he is being judged, he uses his stewardship authority to provide for himself instead of helping his master. However, the master is able to say what he did was shrewd, cunning, prudent. Why? I think it is because he used the stewardship authority he was given to focus on the future. The story tells us again and again the man is unrighteous. Jesus isn’t giving us an example of righteous behavior, but of shrewd, cunning, prudent behavior. Unrighteous people know how to use unrighteous mammon to prepare for the future. Of course, the problem is they don’t think far enough in the future. Jesus’s point, I believe, is children of light need to couple their righteous behavior with a shrewd, cunning, prudent use of money, material goods, and finances not to prepare for the same future the unrighteous dwell on, but to prepare for eternal dwellings. We need to remember God has given us stewardship authority not to provide a house, a car, clothes, even an earthly retirement. Rather, we should use it to populate the eternal dwellings with people who will receive us into those dwellings. In other words, God blesses us with financial resources so we can share the gospel of the eternal kingdom. Let’s be shrewd about that–not skimpy, not tight-fisted–shrewd.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 17.

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