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no pockets in a shroud

He [Jesus of Nazareth c. AD30] 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. 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 lo.ger be manager.’” (Luke 16: 1)
Oh, dear. Just when this manager thought he was trusted so much by his lord that he would never ever be called to account for everything that had been entrusted to him – by his lord.

“And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my lord 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.’ So, summoning his lord’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my lord?’ 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.’” 

Knowing only too well that he had lost his livelihood for evermore, this manager decided to obtain – with what his lord had entrusted to him – the favour and blessing of those who also owed huge amounts to his lord. Purporting to be acting still for his lord he forgave their debts to his lord right left and centre. 

“The lord commended the dishonest manager for his wisdom. For the sons of this world are wiser over their own generation than the sons of light. 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.”

Dishonest, yes. But very wise. So says the Lord Jesus. Wise, however, only in their own generation – not wise beyond that generation, that human era.

This manager had, wisely but dishonestly, made provision for his future in his own generation. His new friends in that same generation would be the only ones to whom he could look when he came to be in need of an eternal dwelling place. Fair enough. But Jesus had something more to teach his disciples – and the religiously righteous Pharisees who also were listening to him.
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” 

Had this manager been “faithful” with the “very little” which his lord had entrusted to him? Had he been “dishonest” with the “very little” which his lord had entrusted to him? Jesus labels that “very little” as being “unrighteous wealth” and by no means “the true riches”.

Jesus also clarifies that whatever the lord of this manager had entrusted to him was, in reality, “another’s”. One day this manager might have been giver his very own riches.

“No servant can serve two lords, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” 

A choice must be made in the here and now.

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 

Ah, yes. It was a good idea at the time - in their generation.

Sinner Syvret

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