The Astute Steward
The Gospel today is in two parts. Firstly, there is a parable and secondly there is a collection of sayings of Jesus about money. The two parts are not connected.
Firstly, the Parable. The parable is called the parable of the Astute Steward or the Crafty Steward. He prepares for his impending dismissal by using his money (or the Bosses money?) to make friends. He is not strong; he would be ashamed to beg. He prepares by making “sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes”.
He calls the debtors one by one and renegotiates their debt. His actions are morally doubtful. But Jesus ”praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness”. The reason and the inspiration of Jesus is that the “children of this world are more astute dealing with their own than are the children of light”.
Jesus himself gives the punch line of the Parable. “Use money, tainted as it is to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity”.
Clearly Jesus says: use money. He says money is tainted. He says to use money to win you friends. He says to use money for eternal investment!!!!.
We do this by supporting the poor and foreign missions, by helping out in so many ways. There can so easily be an eternal use for our money. Jesus commends the children of this world for being astute and wishes that we learn to be astute with our money as children of light.
Money has a heavenly use!
Secondly, there are a few statements that Jesus put together in the Gospel. They are only vaguely connected with the parable. They are from a different teaching of Jesus.
“The man who can be trusted in few things can be trusted in great”.
“If you cannot be trusted in what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own”.
“No man can serve two masters……You cannot be slave both of God and money”.
The teaching of Jesus about money never says: Give it to me! They say : Give it to mine!