Today’s gospel reading is the strangest story Jesus ever told. Jesus is telling us to imitate a crook! He cheats on his employer, lies to his business associates, and yet, says Jesus, here’s somebody from whom we need to learn! That’s very troubling to many people. Jesus seems to be giving approval to a shady character. This parable has been troubling to people ever since Jesus told it.
However, there are few lessons from the story. Firstly, this is essentially a parable about forgiveness. Jesus was praising the dishonest manager for forgiving his boss’ debtors. After all, Jesus was all about forgiveness and grace. Secondly, this is mainly a story about money. Jesus had more to say about money than any other topic, particularly in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is demanding integrity, total devotion to God that puts Him first in everything. Thirdly, Jesus actually was praising the man for his initiative. That’s the plain meaning of this parable.
Remember to whom Jesus was directing this parable. It wasn’t to the Pharisees or the crowds but to his disciples. He is speaking to his church today that he needs people who make a difference in the world and work to bring his kingdom into being. Jesus was not commending this manager for his deceit. He was commending him for his concern about the future and his dedication and energy. The manager was sold out to pursuing a goal, and that’s what Christ needs from us. It is a command to those who follow Jesus to step it up a bit and to sell out for serving him. IL-WOONG.
Owlegories: The Ant. The Fruit. The Butterfly. Owlegories is an animated series that teaches kids about God through the amazing things found in nature and revealed in God’s word. 1) The Ant. The kids must work together to accomplish their mission and learn three ways followers of Christ should be like an ant. 2) The Fruit. The Professor sends the kids to an apple orchard as a special assignment to find out about the Fruit of the Spirit. 3) The Butterfly. The kids must overcome their fear of bugs and the three ways a follower of Christ is like a caterpillar.