Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shrewdness

Luke 16
The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
1Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2So he called him in and asked him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.'

3"The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg— 4I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.'

5"So he called in each one of his master's debtors. He asked the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'

6" 'Eight hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,' he replied.
      "The manager told him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.'

7"Then he asked the second, 'And how much do you owe?'
      " 'A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,' he replied.
      "He told him, 'Take your bill and make it eight hundred.'

8"The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?

13"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

14The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.

 

I don’t think I completely understand this parable.  Who does the rich man represent?  Who is the manager?  What does being fired represent?  What’s the message? 

I’m gonna try to Wikipedia this in a few minutes to see if it has some thoughts.  If I can’t find it there, I think I’ll search for a Bible wiki or look into creating a Bible wiki.

8 comments:

Richie said...

Apparently, this was covered during the evening service this week. I missed it so if anyone was there, feel free to respond.

Chad said...

Let me know when you come up with a conclusion. I have some ideas, but they don't fit fully with things like how the manager acted for on his own behalf instead of for his boss.

Matt Emerson said...

I think the key is verses 13-15. Verse 8 usually trips us up, but I think Jesus is describing the mindset of the manager and not actually commending the previous actions/attitudes. Jesus is pretty clear in the last 3 verses where He stands.

Chad said...

Verse 13, sure. But 14-15 don't make complete sense to me because he says the Pharisees are the ones who seek favor among men and God sees the heart, yet in the parable the manager seeks favor among men and is commended for it.

One thing I thought of, is that the rich owner gains favor from the manager's actions because the debtor's debts to the owner are lessened. That's cool. But then, God isn't looking to lessen debts, he's looking to pay them in full (he did by Jesus on the cross)... so either we're missing something, or this parable is longer than it needs to be to convey the single message contained in verse 13 and I doubt that is what Jesus's only intention was in telling it.

Hanz said...

I see what you mean about verses 14-15, but I don't think Jesus is really commending the manager. I think He's being facetious (sp?). I think it's something along the lines of Him getting the Pharisees to nod their heads with Him, saying what He knows their thinking, and then dropping the hammer in the last 3 verses. It's almost like, "Hey we should do business like the people of the world, just like this manager, right? WRONG!" Sort of like that Dana Carvey skit....WRONG!

haha

Terry said...

too bad we didn't record Alfy's talk on Sunday night -- this was the passage he taught

Richie said...

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=df47xkdr_58d7kqfbc4

There is a document a friend of mine wrote in regard to the parable of the shrewd manager

Chad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.