The parable Jesus told of the dishonest manager is an unusual one (Lk 16:1-13). But two things that appear shocking to me is the part where the master commends this deceitful accountant and when Jesus instructs his followers to ‘make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon’ (v.8-9)
The main point in this earthly story shows the need to be creative and innovative accountants in Christ’s heavenly kingdom. Some critical clarifications help to better understand what exactly is going on here:
It is important to note this businessman’s master is not God. He is probably is a worse crook and anyway God does not tempt or commend wrong doing. Jesus here is taking a negative example in order to teach a positive character trait i.e. shrewdness/prudence: the wise use of opportunities in preparing for the future. The argument runs from the lesser to the greater as Jesus exhorts ‘children of light’ to imitate not the deceit, but clever ways of this street-smart manager.
First, I think Jesus wants us even today to be attentive! Remember every one will shortly and certainly at death be discharged from our stewardship. Then we must all ‘give an account’ of our God-given time, talent, treasures and prodigal ways. Think, what is the bottom line? In the end… what? So, consider outcomes, plan ahead and redeem (buy back wasted) time for the days are evil (Eph.5:15).
Second, Jesus wants his followers to be creative! Christians can learn from the so-called secular world; not just to work hard and long, but smart and importantly work right. We must stay ahead in this really crooked world we live in. This manager is too lazy and proud, but the key is he recognizes and does something about it. We often don’t!
Third, apart from being attentive to the time he had left and creative with his talents he is commended for the productive use of his treasures. As stewards of God’s rich and manifold grace, let us invest our time, energies and monies wisely for the cause of an eternal kingdom. The gospel ought to give us the integrity as well as innovation to win the lost at any cost, while we can – NOW!