Updated: Dec 7, 2020
The parable of the Shrewd Manager can be a confusing one to read. It seems a crooked person is being praised for stealing from his boss out of revenge. I think we can all agree that this is not good! I am including this story as told in "The Message" version below. This version really helps paraphrase this passage in a more clear and understandable way. Once you read this version go back and read it in another version (I personally read from the NIV). This passage in found in Luke 16:1-9.
Jesus said to his disciples, “There was once a rich man who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running up huge personal expenses. So he called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? You’re fired. And I want a complete audit of your books.’
“The manager said to himself, ‘What am I going to do? I’ve lost my job as manager. I’m not strong enough for a laboring job, and I’m too proud to beg. . . . Ah, I’ve got a plan. Here’s what I’ll do . . . then when I’m turned out into the street, people will take me into their houses.’
“Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
“He replied, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’
“The manager said, ‘Here, take your bill, sit down here—quick now—write fifty.’
“To the next he said, ‘And you, what do you owe?’
“He answered, ‘A hundred sacks of wheat.’
“He said, ‘Take your bill, write in eighty.’
“Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.”
Is this passage not fascinating! The dishonest behavior is wrong, but the creativity used to "look after himself" is not wrong. I like the line, "using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival." Be like the shrewd manager by thinking creatively to survive, and even prosper. Do not be like the shrewd manager using your creativity dishonestly.
A lot of people struggle with this creativity, especially in times where it seems all the normal avenues for success have been taken away. I am a financial counselor and investment adviser. Sometimes my job is to help you find financial relief. Most of the time my job is to help you find financial self-sufficiency, by thinking creatively with what you have. This takes time. Some can do much with what they have now, while others can do very little now, but EVERYONE can do something NOW. Remember verse 10 immediately following this passage (taken from the NIV):
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much,and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Be honest, trustworthy, and shrewd, pursuing every angle, with even the little you may have. Contact me at 320 Life and I can help you see those angles and opportunities. If you do this the next time the government sends you a stimulus check to help you survive you will likely be wondering what to do with this surprise money! But do not worry you will have a plan and a financial adviser. These two things make these decisions much easier.