Jesus sometimes uses opposites to make a point dramatically, like the dishonest judge in Luke 18:1-8 who reluctantly gives justice (opposite to God) to a widow because she is persistent (which I should learn). This manager is wasteful and dishonest (which I should not copy) but he’s smarter than the “children of light”, so there is something I should be learning from him.
Jesus makes it easier for me. It’s about three relationships: my relationship with money and whether it’s my master; my relationship with people and whether I treat them generously as friends; and it’s about my relationship with God, whether he’s my master and whether he welcomes me as a friend.
This dishonest manager knows who his master is, and he realizes he’s a steward. The oil and the wheat don’t belong to him. They belong to his master and his job is to use them in his master’s interests. And he understands that generosity builds relationships.
Unlike the master in the story, God wants me to be generous with his things. If I’m generous with what he gives me, he will both welcome me as a friend, and he’ll let me be a generous steward with more. But I’m dishonest if I treat what God entrusts to me as though it’s mine, and it’s not safe for him to give me more.
It starts by being clear who my master is. I belong to God … or I belong to something else (such as money). I can’t belong to both. Knowing how to use things in my master God’s interests depends on knowing him: personally knowing his generosity towards me in giving me life, in giving Jesus, in giving his Spirit, in giving me a place in his family … and in giving me things in this world (money, time, skills, a home and so much more). As I love him more, as I’m transformed to be more like my father God, I increasingly love to be like him.
Father, I want to grow in faithfulness, like you, and in generosity, like you, and in generous relationships, like you and with you.
Written by David Cornell