This is one very tricky reading.. It would seem to carry a lot of contradictions in it.. Here is this manager which we can imply from what the owner is saying has done the wrong thing or at least not done a very good job.. He gets caught out and so then intentionally goes out to rip off the owner even more, to win the favour of his neighbours, to benefit him after he loses his job.. Instead of getting mad the owner actually to some degree respects the man.. Jesus is impressed by the actions and comments “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth[b] so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.“
What is he on about?? As if this wasn’t enough Jesus says if you can’t be honest in the small ways how can you be trusted with big ones, if you can’t be trusted with dishonest wealth how can you be trusted with true treasures??
Honestly reading this passage is like playing a game of monopoly for me. After years of playing it I still have absolutely no idea how to really play the game, winning seems to be left to pure chance!!
But it is interesting reflecting on this reading what comes to mind.. As you can see the monopoly man took a chance, some say he chose to use his power, the little he had left for relationship and that is what Jesus was commending him for..
I wonder if this story is actually a continuation of the theme of grace that is being explored the chapter before in the prodigal son and the lost coin and sheep.
What if this story is actually about what we do when we have been caught out doing the wrong thing? Do we try to make the most of it or do we sit back and let fate decide what will happen to us. Do we go out denying or fighting it, wasting energy on anger. From this perspective it makes sense to me about why he was commended, he didn’t rest on his laurels or sit back a victim or rage, he did what he could with what he had..
I wonder if part of the criticism for Jesus of people of the light is that they expect God to save them or make it better, not taking any responsibility for themselves. To transform your life, when greed is what has taken over to the point of disrespect, if you are to the point of only caring about the money you will be left with nothing.. The manager had to lose everything to be ok in the long run.. What if he just took the money and ran? Eventually it would run out.. But in the end I think he was investing in a second chance.. By people owing him a favour, it gave himself the opportunity to prove himself again and maybe gain employment.. He was in fact investing in a different future. It was a gamble.
I must confess I kind of hope it pays off for him.
Of course it brings me to the place in my own life.. Where do I rage, or sit back and play the victim? What am I hoping God will save me from? Where would I like a second chance? Where do I need to make the most with what I have got? Am I using what I know to the best of my ability to work for God? Are there only certain gifts and skills that are God’s and the rest have no relation because they are what I use in the “real” world? Is there a line? Should there be one?
If you are taking a risk either sorting something out or for God this week, I pray it may pay off..