“The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.”

How in the world does Jesus tell a story where a liar and cheat gets praised? That is the question that has vexed generations of moralists concerning the story of the dishonest manager. The problem comes in when focus on the story so much that we don’t listen to Jesus. He tells us what the point is – the dishonest manager is shrewd, while so often Christians are not.

Consider – that rotten cheat was utterly honest about his situation. He had played things fast and loose, and now the noose was around his neck. He was stuck in a pit, and there was no way he was going to dig his way out – so he didn’t trust in his own power. Instead, he sponged off the master’s name, wealth, and credit, and that is how he survived.

Now, consider us Christians. Here we are, people who have received the gift of life and salvation from Christ Jesus. We are baptized children of God… and yet, what so often is our gut reaction when we have gotten our hand caught in the cookie jar of some sin or vice? We deny that we did anything wrong, or we blame our neighbor, or we promise to do better, or we make vain promises about how we’ll behave in the future. All of these are foolish things. So often we try foolishly to talk our way out of our sin.

This is why Christ Jesus calls us to be shrewd – this is why we are to fix our eyes upon Christ Jesus and remember that we live only by the forgiveness, life, and salvation that He gives. We don’t need to posture or plot; rather we confess our sin and He is faithful and just to forgive us. God grant us wisdom and shrewdness to remember this!

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