Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative to present Jesus in the context he walked in with the unknown disciple that narrates introducing my thoughts and sparking more ideas with his questions. Enjoy.
Jesus told us and the crowd that was listening: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’”
Our culture is one of paying back favors…I wonder what his plan is?
“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied.
“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’”
Saving him about 500 denarii…and by having that guy change it, the manager can say he didn’t do it.
“Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
“‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.
“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’”
Another 500 denarii…I thought.
Contracts specified what they would owe at harvest time; the manager, however, is able to change the contract. Rather than extorting more money, the manager does the opposite.
“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”
Crafty fellow. Landowners sometimes forgave or reduced debts in times of famine or other crises; those forgiven normally praised the creditor as benevolent in return. The landowner now recognizes his manager’s shrewdness: if the owner protests that the manager acted on his own, the debtors will be angry with the owner and generous toward the manager. For the sake of his honor, the owner is not likely to try to exact more from the debtors than what his manager promised. As far as the account books, the apparent lower income will now be attributed to generosity rather than to the manager’s mismanagement, honoring the owner.
Is Jesus saying use our money for other people and not just to buy things?
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
The Pharisees heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.
He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.
“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.”