Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 22, 2013
Did Jesus commend dishonesty?
In today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus tells a story about a rich man and his dishonest manager. When someone in our society employs another to manage his or her property, that employer must have expected that manager to be trustworthy and loyal in order to invest much authority in his or her management. The same is true about the rich man in the story Jesus told. Unfortunately, this manager was dishonest and misused the owner’s property.
In our world, where dishonesty is rampant, probably not many people would be surprised by this manager’s dishonest action. But what is puzzling is the owner’s commendation of the steps his manager took to conspire with debtors to defraud him of money they owed to him. It is clear that this owner did not offer com-mendation to his manager for stealing his money; otherwise he would not have terminated him. But instead, the owner lauded him for the cunning method that he used to protect his own welfare.
Does this say something about the rich man’s character? Is this the type of shrewdness that he could relate to?
While this behavior may be acceptable to some unbelievers, it should not be the case for believers of Christ. Jesus did not com-mend the manager’s dishonesty, but instead uses the story to teach us how to use what God provides for us to assist those in need. In the process we could make friends with whom we could share the gospel.
Lloyd Gooden, pastor, Lebanon Moravian Church, Lebanon, Pennsylvania