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Luke 16:1-13

2007-09-19 — According to Joseph Fitzmyer, the shrewd steward reduces the bills by cutting out his own commission. Extrabiblical sources indicate that this quick-thinking steward went on to sell cars at just $100 over invoice. There is no evidence that he ever sold watches on the street.

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BIBLE PASSAGE — 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. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then 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. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then 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.’ And 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. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” — Proper 20, Series C

comments

  1. Jim Butler — 3570 days ago #

    Kenneth Bailey (Poet and Peasant) is of the opinion that the steward was banking on his master’s mercy and generosity. Reading through the commentaries, I think Bailey makes the most sense. We need to be shrewd and bank on our Lord’s mercy.

  2. George C. Heider — 3570 days ago #

    Great stuff, Jim. It reminds me of a Turkish bazaar that my wife and I walked through some years ago. One booth prominently offered “Genuine Fake Watches.” We should be so honest.

  3. Jim — 3570 days ago #

    Jim, Art Just takes the same approach in his commentary on Luke. I was a fan of that, but Fitzmyer’s take just works so well in terms of the shrewdness. I haven’t had the time to chase his sources that back up his case.

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Copyright 1999 - 2004 James Wetzstein, except the bible of course. All rights reserved.