BITE: A Dishonest Man Commended?

The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. Luke 16:8 [ESV]

Quick note today on one of the most difficult parables to interpret. In this parable a house manager is fired for squandering his master’s money. Because the dishonest manager was able to manage the affairs of his master and even make money deals in his master’s name, the manager was likely a free man.

He had to figure out how to make a living so he came up with the genius idea of going back to some of the customers of business deals he had made for his previous master and offered them a new loan note that would remove/lessen the supposed interest (not interest but something else as Jews were forbidden to charge interest based on religious law). This prompted the borrowers to immediately pay their debt to get the reduced loan cost.

The manager then used the money (the master’s money) to live on. Now the crazy part of this passage – the master respected the ingenuity of the manager and even hired him back. I think it is clear that the master was not happy for the manager losing/using this money from these deals but he had to “admire” (commend) the manager for getting himself out of a tough spot; the manager, in a difficult position, had to make a rush decision.

The coming of Jesus forced people to decision. When even dishonest worldly people know how and when to take decisive action, much more should those who follow Jesus. It is the astuteness of the steward, which is commended, not his commercial practices.

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