How about it (see bold above)? When given notice to quit because you’ve messed up, how about making friends with your boss’s customers by using your boss’s assets so that the friends will provide a home for you when you’re unemployed and kicked out of your tied accommodation?
Yes, it would be a criminal offence in Jersey to do what the manager did in this story told by Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus said, the boss found something praiseworthy in the manager’s conduct. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
What then was it that was commendable about defrauding the boss so as to gain a future home once employment had ceased? Only this: the manager was shrewd enough to make provision in advance for a home to live in after his employment ceased. The manager made use of what he could lay his hands on (even though it didn’t belong to him) in order to provide for himself for all his future.
Jesus explained why this (criminal) shrewdness was commendable. “For the sons of this world are shrewder in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.”
One imagines that the “sons of light” (at that time and now) were those who would not do such criminal acts. They were too upright. But the sons of this world would indeed do them in this world of theirs. Would anyone in Jersey do such things today – defraud others so as to benefit themselves? Silly question. The JEP and the national dailies regularly report such cases.
Jesus went further and instructed all human beings to do the same! “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”
He wanted them to think about arranging “eternal dwellings” for themselves by making use of “unrighteous wealth”. What sort of wealth is that? It’s “wealth” as we know it – assets, talents, abilities. But it’s “wealth” that is already “unrighteous” – the original Greek word is literally “no right.”
And then it dawns on me. Let me ask you. Where have you come from? You began as a tiny fertilized ovum. Who made it? Who gave it abilities? Who gave it life and made it become “you”? Who gave it skill? Does the one who gave it life and skills not own it – and all that it has accumulated?
All my “wealth” – all that I call “me” – plus all that I’ve gained for myself - belongs to another.
I can use this “unrighteous wealth” in two possible ways: first, I can use “me and mine” to make friends who will later receive me into their “eternal dwellings” (do let me know what these are if you are pursuing this methodology); second, I can use “me and mine” so as to be received into the “eternal dwellings” provided by the Creator/ Redeemer who loves me.
The “wealth” which is “unrighteous” because I have, all my life so far, called it my own is me. I will turn around and face my Creator and ask for the forgiveness of the Cross of Jesus.
What a blessing that the one who created the fertilised ovum that is now “me” owns the “eternal dwellings” also.
I will be shrewd and use what’s not my own – to enter the courts of the God who loves criminals and has found a way to redeem them.