Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Dishonest Manager - Luke 16

No, this is not about AIG - although, come to think of it, maybe they could learn something from this story!

The story of the dishonest manager is a puzzling one. Jesus is apparently commending this crook - who cheated his boss, then when discovered and fired, cleverly cheated him some more in order to save his skin. What should we make of it?

Remember that Jesus is talking to the Pharisees. He has been telling stories that indicate what happening - the true owner has shown up and is calling the stewards to account. He has just invited them to join the party - to welcome the "younger brothers" who have been lost, but now are found. The leaders have lost their jobs as stewards - but now they have the opportunity to demonstrate grace to the other debtors. The "sinners" still think that the teachers have an "in" with God. If the teachers join Jesus in forgiving debts, they show off the generosity of the owner. (Generosity was a prized quality in the middle eastern culture.) They make the owner look good and make friends for themselves at the same time. There is still time for them to come to the party, to find grace for themselves, and grace for their fellow debtors.

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