Today we will be reading from Luke 16:1-9:
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2 So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ 3 Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ 7 Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ 8 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. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone they may welcome you into the eternal home.
I teach a Sunday School class for our young adults at St. Matthew’s, and we are currently studying a classic book entitled “Troublesome Bible Passages.” This passage here is a textbook case. There is a lot going on. What is happening here?
This is one of those passages that really does sound odd to our ears, and we struggle to make sense of it. Let’s look, big picture at what is happening. It appears as though a manager is dishonest and is stealing from his employer. So, because he knows he is going to get fired, he goes to all the people who now are in debt to his boss and then reduces what they owe, thinking this will buy him favor when he is fired. His boss sees this, sees how clever he is, and winds up commending him instead of firing him.
So, what is happening? Are we to steal at work and then, when we get caught, steal some more?
I did some reading this morning, and here is what I found that makes sense. It seems most likely that what happens is this. The manager goes to those who owe his boss and either reduce his commission on the sale or reduces the debt that has been accumulated. We aren’t sure, but this seems to make sense because think about it. If the boss was going to fire him for stealing, why would he commend him for further stealing by giving it all way?
I think what we see here is an encouragement by Jesus to think on our feet. To be clever. To think. For me, that’s my takeaway. Think. Think for yourself. Use your mind. Use what God has given you. If something doesn’t sound right, think about it. Think through the bible for yourself.
Use your mind. The Lord gave it to you. Use it.
The Bible says to love the Lord with all your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength. Your mind. Love God with your throughs. Use your brain. Think.
The manager, he thought on his feet; he made a clever decision and was rewarded. Today, think. Love the love with your mind. And see where that may lead you.
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