Parable of the Shrewd Manager

This is a most interesting parable, one that truly shows us the unconventional nature of Jesus’ teaching. As with most parables, there are two major takeaways for us to consider: 1) learn how Jesus deals with those far from the church and 2) learn from the lesson itself. This is like learning to fish rather than just having fish suddenly appear. Watch and learn how Jesus attracts those who are far from the church by using a scenario that clearly has nothing to do with religion, the Bible or the Jews.

Jesus honors successful people in the marketplace as the key players in this parable by taking a look inside how they make deals and manage people. This is how you include business people in the church–speak their language. The parable begins with some bad news: a manager is about to get fired! There’s no debate about whether the accusation is valid; neither the manager or the boss take time to debate the issue, he’s simply no longer trusted and will be fired. The manager is completely aware of what’s about to happen so he takes steps to find favor with the boss’ clients…after all, he’s going to be looking for a new job very soon.

Just before being officially fired, the manager cuts some deals with the boss’s main business contacts, his debtors. For one he cuts his debt in half, for another a twenty-percent instant reduction. The manager was shrewd, used exceptional judgement, and the boss was pleased because he came out looking good even though he fired the manager.  It appears that the manager knew the right debtors, the right amount and the right timing for his actions. Who can argue with the results.

For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.

I imagine myself sitting in the audience and shaking my head in agreement at those words, “well said Jesus, thanks for the lesson. I’ll be sure to be shrewd in my business dealings.” But the very next phrase changes everything and turns the spotlight directly at us:

I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

Interesting. Why do some have wealth and others do not? Here’s a clear answer: to build the church! No matter who you are, at some point it will be gone…you can’t take it with you. “When it is gone” comes sooner or later so use it wisely and build the church!!

Jesus goes on to explain there are two kinds of people: those who can be trusted and those who cannot. The implication here is there are two masters to serve: trustworthy and untrustworthy — we are with one or the other, no in between. “You cannot serve God and money.”

This parable is Packed with lessons and wisdom, Lord help me to understand and DO what you say!!

Thoughts about serving others

This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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