Lk 16:1-8

Most of Jesus’ parables contain a twist or an unexpected element which may not in fact be analogous with the daily life. In today’s parable we have a steward who wasted his master’s money. He was about to be fired by his master. Then he does something cunning. He again steals from his master and pays off a portion of the debt of the debtors (one hundred measures of oil to fifty and one hundred measures of wheat to eighty). Here comes the twist. The master, instead of removing the unfaithful steward from his position, commended him for his prudence. Why does he do that? Does Jesus approve of this stealing? The answer is ‘no’. Let us see why.
At the end of the passage Jesus tels, ‘For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.’ This statement shows that this parable is clearly eschatological. In the Jewish tradition “this world” was seen as pointing to the wicked world of darkness and the “world to come” was a world of light
where truth and peace will reign. The wicked steward used the stolen money to secure his future. How much more should the children of light do to secure an eternal inheritance! Jesus recommends the foresight, prudence and ingenuity of the steward. St. Augustine gives us a beautiful explanation of the parable. “Why did the Lord Jesus Christ present this parable to us? He surely did not approve of that cheat of a servant who cheated his master, stole from him and did not make it up from his own pocket. On top of that, he also did some extra pilfering. He caused his master further loss, in order to prepare a little nest of quiet and security for himself after he lost his job. Why did the Lord set this before us? It is not because that servant cheated but because he exercised foresight for the future. When even a cheat is praised for his ingenuity, Christians who make no such provision blush. I mean, this is what he added, “Behold, the children of this age are more prudent than the children of light.” They perpetrate frauds in order to secure their future. In what life, after all, did that steward insure himself like that? What one was he going to quit when he bowed to his master’s decision? He was insuring himself for a life that was going to end. Would you not insure yourself for eternal life?” (Sermon 359a.10.)
What Augustine is saying here is, the steward is not being commended for his wickedness, but for his foresight. What Jesus is saying is that if people in this world go to extreme measures even that of stealing to provide for themselves for the future, how much more should the Christians go to extreme measures to prepare for and to ensure for our eternal inheritance!
Think about how much time today people think about retirement plans and investments for the future. What kind of spiritual investment have you made? What money have you put into your spiritual bank account? Be smart and think prudently about being received into the heavenly habitations.
✍️ CB