Luke 16:8a - (Jesus said) "The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness."
The parable of the dishonest manager shows us a man who is about to be dismissed because the rich man he works for has heard that he is doing a lousy job. This is usually the point where the security guards show up and escort the guy off the premises, right? But that doesn't happen in this story. Instead, the rich man gives him a day or two to tidy up his paperwork—and, sure enough, the manager finds a way to cushion his own fall.
With the authority he still has left, he calls in everybody who owes his master money. He slashes their debts drastically and sends them away grateful. Chances are they had no idea what was really going on. They probably thought the master was in a really good mood that day, to have ordered such a thing!
And of course, once the rich man found out, it was too late for him, the master, to do anything about it. The whole village was doubtless praising him for his generosity. Trying to roll back the debt forgiveness would have been a public relations nightmare. So the dishonest manager escaped his just fate—at least for a while. He doubtless became a sofa surfer for as long as the debtors' gratitude held out. And the master had to admire his cunning.
It's an entertaining story, true. But why would Jesus tell it? What can we learn from this story?
There's only one good thing in this manager—and that is the sheer speed with which he faced the facts of his situation, figured out what his options were, and came up with a plan for his future. In other words, the man had brains—and he used them. He did not waste time mooning around, dreaming about what might have been. He came up with a workable plan and implemented it—brilliantly.
It's a sad fact of life that, as Jesus put it, "the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light" (Luke 16:8b). How often have you seen disasters in the church that could have been prevented with a little common sense? How often are resources wasted, people offended, or huge amounts of work done—only to have to be re-done—because nobody thought through all the possible consequences?
Christians often excuse this kind of thing because "their hearts were in the right place." Well, that may be true, but we are called to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37b). Jesus Himself was no bumbler. He would not have survived to reach the cross at God's chosen time if He had not had the good sense to know exactly how to deal with the antagonistic authorities such as Herod and the high priests.
Paul reminds us that Jesus is not just God's love, but God's wisdom for us. He is the One who is the light of our minds and hearts. Let us follow the Lord our wisdom with true hearts and clear minds, trusting in Him to show us His way.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, open my mind to understand Your will. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you think God cares about thinking and common sense? Why or why not?
2. How do you serve the Lord with your mind?
3. What is one thing you could do that would help you to serve him better in this way?
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