What I’m Thinking: Puzzling Parable

Jesus told a story commending self-serving, dishonest, even criminal behavior. What are we to make of that?

Here’s a transcript:

I”m thinking about the sixteenth chapter of Luke (Luke 16:1-13). It contains one of Jesus’ more puzzling stories. We usually call it “The Parable of the Dishonest Manager.”

This fellow was accused by his employer of financial irregularities, perhaps embezzlement. Knowing that he was going to be fired, he went to his boss’ clients, people who owed him money, and said, all right, what I want you to do is pay, right now, but to do so at a discounted rate. The idea, you see, was that these folks would now be obligated to him when he was seeking a new position.

I’m honestly not sure that anybody would want to hire somebody who defrauded his employer like that, but that was the idea. And the original employer actually commended the dishonest manager for making friends for himself with this money.

Jesus said that the children of this world know how to make friends for themselves with dishonest wealth, but the children of the light: they do not.

Following the parable Jesus said one of those other troubling and very memorable things: that you cannot serve God and wealth, and that, I think, might be the real key to this story.

The dishonest manager: he served himself. He did it well. And it looks like he was going to make a new way for himself in the days after, what I assume was going to be, once more, his dismissal.

Is that the way we want to be?

Or do we want to be people who understand that this can be done, that this can be the way of the world, but we instead choose some other, better way?

I think that’s what Jesus was encouraging us to do.

And the friend, the best friend to make with the use of our possessions and wealth: that friend is God.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , , | Posted on September 16, 2019

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