The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
Luke 16 : 1-13
(The Message Translation)
1-2 Jesus said to his disciples, “There was once a rich man who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running up huge personal expenses. So he called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? You’re fired. And I want a complete audit of your books.’
3-4 “The manager said to himself, ‘What am I going to do? I’ve lost my job as manager. I’m not strong enough for a laboring job, and I’m too proud to beg. . . . Ah, I’ve got a plan. Here’s what I’ll do . . . then when I’m turned out into the street, people will take me into their houses.’
5 “Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
6 “He replied, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’
“The manager said, ‘Here, take your bill, sit down here—quick now—write fifty.’
7 “To the next he said, ‘And you, what do you owe?’
“He answered, ‘A hundred sacks of wheat.’
“He said, ‘Take your bill, write in eighty.’
8-9 “Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.”
10-13 Jesus went on to make these comments:
If you’re honest in small things, you’ll be honest in big things; If you’re a crook in small things, you’ll be a crook in big things. If you’re not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store? No worker can serve two bosses: He’ll either hate the first and love the second Or adore the first and despise the second. You can’t serve both God and the Bank.
There's no guarantee that the problems of the world will be solved.
There's work to be done. And living in ways that bring good, break down rivalries, build community, and promote belonging in the world often require subversive, revolutionary strategies. It requires creativity and effort.
Now is not the time to settle for good enough. Now is the time to look for every opportunity to bring healing, and to go after it like our life depends on it, because it does.
Outward Mindset Application Adjust something you are doing each day this week to be more helpful to the people around you.
Pathways Toward Centeredness Caregiving (loving the world through loving others): Can you think of someone in your sphere of influence who is in need of a mentor? How can you help meet that need?
Questions for Reflection Can you name any ways you have learned to be a more complete human by watching those we serve be human? What is you favorite responsibility you've ever been given?