Prepare to Listen. Take your time to be still, using this prayer: Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain.
Prayerfully Read 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. 2So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” 3Then 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. 4I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” 5So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” 6He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” 7Then 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.” 8And 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. 9And 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 homes.
“Make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth.” You’ve probably never heard a sermon with this as its title! But it’s from the mouth of Jesus. It appears to contradict everything most of us were taught about the Christian life. So, what are we to make of it? The answer is in the parable. Parables often say shocking things wake us up. They reveal truth about us, rarely giving a moral principle. We can learn from the manager’s dishonest behavior.
Recently I mentioned to someone that I’d learned a truth from a Jewish theologian. She was a shocked and said, “But he’s a Jew”! Implying he’d have nothing to teach a Christian. In this parable, Jesus seems to suggest that “children of light” (Jesus’ followers) can and should learn from “children of this age” (who aren’t his followers). Like the manager in the parable, we should use what we know and possess “to gain, not lose, one’s future,” as Craddock notes. The manager’s seemingly dishonest behavior showed up the rich man’s disobedience to the law (torah) that forbad charging a fellow Jew interest. The manager annulled the interest payment and of course the master couldn’t react without admitting his own disobedience to the law. Perhaps the manager wasn’t as dishonest as the master. His shrewdness is something we can imitate.
What disturbed you in this parable? What do you now see about Jesus?
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus, you consistently resist our attempts to put you in neat and tidy box and keep showing us how beyond our comprehension you really are. Help me live with the Mystery that you are with the courage to live with the bits I struggle to understand. Amen.
Live obediently. Discern truth in Jesus’ shocking words.
 Craddock, Fred B. Luke. Louisville, KY. 1990, p. 190.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.