Give to receive - 29 March 2022

By Xanthe Hancox

As we’ve seen more than once over the past month, Jesus often used controversial ideas and characters in his parables to gain the crowd’s attention. In this story a corrupt financial manager becomes a sort of hero. The manager has wasted his boss’s resources. So when he is about to lose his job, he reduces the amounts owed by his master’s debtors to gain their goodwill.

Then, unexpectedly, the master commends the dishonest steward for his shrewd handling of his predicament. The word for “shrewd” here can also mean “wise.” The same word is used to describe the wise man who built his house on a rock. (Matthew 7:24)

But how is this manager wise? Though he is disreputable, he finds a creative way to “save his own skin” by giving generously of his master’s wealth. In a strange way, this parable reinforces Jesus’ teaching “Give, and it will be given to you.” (see Luke 6:38) The manager greatly reduces the debts of his clients, and his generous actions gain him lasting friends who will surely hire him or provide for him after he loses his job.

Likewise, Jesus’ followers who use their wealth to benefit others for the sake of God’s kingdom “will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”

We might think Jesus was mixed up. Economics teaches us that we must preserve wealth to get ahead. But giving makes us wise and pleases God, who holds all wealth in his hands.

Prayer: Lord, your ways are higher than ours. Plant within us your spirit of generosity. Thank you for assuring us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Amen