The parable in Luke 16 has to be one of Jesus’ most unusual stories. He actually commends a dishonest manager! That seems strange, at first. But the master is not praising him for his dishonesty. He’s praising him for the great foresight to anticipate what he will need after his time as the manager has come to a close. Jesus parable is telling us that we are the manager of money now but will not be forever. Time is short.
Notice what the manager was commended for: Not his initial mismanagement of the owner’s resources, but rather for acting shrewdly when he knew his time was limited. The manager took urgent action that provided for his own future while making the rich man look generous in the eyes of his debtors.
What is shrewdness? Most basically, it’s a timely wisdom. A shrewd manager chooses to act now, not later. His sense of urgency is counterbalanced by the wisdom to see that he is not the owner of the money. He is only the manager.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you will be more faithful when you have more. But Jesus tells us that those who are faithful with little will be faithful with much. Conversely, those who are dishonest with little will also be dishonest with much. Faithfulness is not about how much money you have. It’s about how much of your trust God has.
Everything we have comes from God. One of the joys of life is having resources that we have been given to manage for God’s glory, our good, and the benefit of others. Whatever wealth we have will one day be gone. With that fact in sight, how can you be a shrewd, generous, and faithful manager of whatever God has entrusted to you today? Be wise, and be urgent, just like the shrewd manager.
Prayer: Take a moment and think of all the resources God has put under your management. Then pray, “Father, thank You for every good gift You’ve given me. All I have is from You. Remind me that I am only the manager, not the owner. Give me the wisdom and the urgency to be a wise and faithful manager on Your behalf. As I do, help me to experience the joy of generosity giving to the things that matter to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”