The Parable of the Unjust Steward, with an interpretation (Luke 16)
He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions.”
The Lord chose a nation, Israel, and placed in their care his wealth: Truth and Wisdom, Grace and Mercy, Love and Peace, Joy and Hope, even the very presence of God himself. And yes, he gave them material abundance: a land flowing with milk and honey. All this was given to them, that they would give to the world. But they wasted this great treasure, hoarding it selfishly until it dried up and was nearly gone.
And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’
So the Lord sent his Son to Israel to call them to account. “What have you done with my father’s blessing? The world is no better for your presence! Even your own children are destitute! All that he gave you is wasted! ” And weeping, he said “I will take these riches from your hands and pass them out myself. I will look for new servants, those with generous hearts like my father.”
And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’
But Israel listened to the Son and realized their desperate situation. They saw that the Lord’s treasure was all they had of value. Already despised by the world, they would now be paupers as well. Before it was too late, they changed their minds and saw the one way to redeem themselves.
So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’
Israel repented. They quickly embraced the generosity of the Lord. Pharisees and teachers of the law changed their tune. They began to proclaim the Lord’s mercy, offering forgiveness in place of judgment. They reached out in love to the sinner and the tax collector. They hurried to the nations of the world with the good news: “The kingdom of God is yours! Come into the Father’s house and sit at his table!”
The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness.
The Lord was delighted with their change of heart. He praised his people, saying “You have done all that I wanted of you! You are truly my sons. You too shall enjoy my abundance again. Come, let us celebrate together with joy!”
For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.
Alas, the real story did not end as the parable did. They could have lived happily ever after, but Israel was not as wise with the things of God as an ordinary man would be with the things of Earth. They did not listen to the Son’s offer after all, and the kingdom was taken away from them.
The same offer is extended to all of us who know the love of God. Can we see what great treasure is ours? Will we give it away freely and not waste it in fear and self righteousness?