This parable is variously entitled:
- Parable of the Shrewd Manager
- The Wise Use of Money
- Parable of the Dishonest Manager
- Parable of the Unrighteous Steward
We spent some time defining the role of a steward/manager and the various definitions of the word “shrewd.” The word “shrewd” has an interesting history and is a more positive characteristic than it used to be. A good modern word might be prudent or clever.
We also talked about various money principles in the passage such as
- Honest use of money
- Serving others
- Investing wisely
- Worshiping God through our money
- Good planning
An important part of our discussion concerned the role and nature of parables:
- Teaching in general
- Giving illustrations of right living and life lessons
- Providing examples
- Teaching spiritual truth about eternal consequences
- Making us think
- Generating some mystery and/or paradox
- Suggesting practical applications
Our challenge is finding how a parable about an unjust person can apply to us. One way is to think about parables is that some are to be understood as contrasts. We may have to see the opposite of the story or apply it as an example of how not to live.
Yet there is something to be said for the unjust steward’s ability to plan for the future. Jesus seems to be saying that we should always be preparing “eternal habitations” for our future—a time when money and earthly activities are at an end. How are we preparing for the life to come? Be prepared.
We finished with a lively discussion about the issues of working across cultures and trying to understand the use of money in such contexts.