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Faith Daily | 4 November 2022

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p598

God our Father,

whose will it is to bring all things

to order and unity in our Lord Jesus Christ:

may all the peoples of the world,

now divided and torn apart by sin,

be brought together under his sovereign rule of love;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 16: 1-8

Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” 3Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” 5So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” 6He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” 7Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” 8And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.


I was happy to find that, like me, many commentators seem to find this parable very difficult to explain. This however did not help to shed light on a story where Jesus seems to be praising the steward who is a scoundrel and who has been reported to his boss who then fires him (verse 2).

The steward then quickly goes and reduces the debts owed by those owing his master. He must act swiftly before they find out he has been sacked so these transactions are unauthorised. We might easily assume that he is removing an amount he had added to each debt and would have usually pocketed! However the debtors would appreciate an unsolicited reduction in their debt and so feel warmly towards both the steward and the owner.

We must remember that Jesus used parables about other unsavoury characters – the unjust judge who finally grants the woman her wish to be rid of her pestering, the neighbour who doesn’t want to be bothered in the night but finally gets up and gives his neighbour the bread he needs or the man who gets another’s treasure by buying his field. Jesus used the rabbinic principle of showing “how much more”. If each of these protagonists finally got what they wanted from the very reluctant givers, how much more can they expect from a loving God.

What is Jesus telling his disciples and the pharisees in this parable? He is certainly not praising evil deals. God is a God of judgment and mercy. The steward, because of his wicked ways, is facing a crisis. He has no excuses to plea so he has to trust in the mercy of his generous master. The steward knew he could have been thrown into jail immediately so he was vindicated in trusting the master not to reveal the unauthorised deals he did to ensure his future and he was right to do so.

Assuming that the parable is another example of “how much more”, when we face the crisis of the final judgement, Jesus is saying we can trust in a God who is merciful. The dishonest manager was wise enough to put his trust in the mercy shown by his master at the beginning of the parable. Christians need to show such wisdom to trust in a God who despite our past is so much more merciful.

FINAL PRAYER Jim Cotter “Unfolding the Word”

Living Presence of simplicity,

showing us that we can be fully human

yet possess nothing,

prune us of he securities

with which we surround ourselves,

give us the folly of the Gospel

which errs on the side of generosity,

and encourage us to give more than we receive.

We pray this after the pattern of Jesus

and in the power of the Spirit.


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