“Analysis of Luke Chapter 16 1-9, The Parable of the Manager,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
My dear Christians and you of all faiths, thoughts, and views and opinions. I ask you to join with me in another voyage of intellectual discovery where those who may wish to engage in critical thinking and not to engage in and accept media lies falsehoods and political code words and hype can join in the effort to gain truth and facts amid the barrage of corruption and virtual darkness we are confronted with and befuddled and made effective fools of. I welcome you in this quest and task of attaining and coming to know intellectual honesty and honest discernment. Join with me in this voyage of discovery to get at and find what is valid and authentic in this world of confusion and to come with me in tearing apart the curtain of lies and darkness that hides from us what is truth and facts.
Today, dear friends, thinkers and Christian believers and non-believers, I would like to offer an interpretation and explanation and to seek and possibly find an explanation for these verses and passage in the Gospel of Luke chapter 16 verses 1-9. I do this and attempt this task with great hesitation and of course humility knowing how limited intellectually I am as I set about to gain the meaning these of any other of the words and sayings of Christ. The passage is as follows: “He also said to the disciples there was a rich man who had a manager and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions and he called him and said to him ‘what is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself ‘what shall I do since my master is taking the management 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 removed from management people may receive me into their houses.’ So. summoning his master’s debtor, one by one he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said ‘a hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him ‘take your bill and sit down quickly and write fifth.’ Then he said to another, ‘how much do you owe?’ He said ‘a hundred measures of wheat’ and he said to him ‘take your bill and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness ‘for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth so that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.’”
What are we to make of this narrative? The manager is dishonest and is discharged from his position so he says to himself what can he do. He is not strong enough to dig and ashamed to beg. He reaches a solution to his difficulty by summoning his master’s debtor and reducing the debt for each. The idea here is that the dishonest steward is prudent in the things of this life and believers should do the same. Here the master is the rich man and the sons of light are those who are spiritually-enlightened. The master here I think is the absentee landlord. The master believes what is no more than a slander or even a rumor or calumny about the steward. The steward acts to handle the situation and does not engage in self-pity. These sums are owed to the master but the steward it appears is by this method not foregoing his commission but is canceling the excessive profit. In some way, the steward may be by this method getting back at the master at his master’s expenses, but, more to the point, seems to be pocketing money for himself.
This is my suggestion of how to grasp and understand this narrative, but the meaning is far deeper than is in the words of this story. First, we seem to be told that by cancelling the master’s excessive profit the steward appears be rewarded by the debtors with a commission or tip. Is Jesus suggesting and commending dishonesty here? I think not. He means that the sons of his world or non-Christian and non-Jews are shrewd in dealing with their own generation and says make friends by means by unrighteous mammon and perhaps he implies make friends of the unrighteous who despite their unrighteousness will bring us to heaven and eternal life. Perhaps it is akin to the lesson of the good Samaritan. The outcasts of this world and the unrighteous will and can bring us to heaven. We cannot tell and know who may bring us to Christ and Jesus says here make friends of all since like the Samaritan, the outcast, or Palestinian; that person may and can and will bring us faith and eternal life and Jesus warns us here not to be deceived by appearances and impressions.
Ladies and gentlemen, I do hope and trust I have provided some guidance here and ask you to give care what I have attempted to present here as to the meaning of this passage and realize my own inadequacy and limitations and urge you to excuse what I have said if it is not to the point and helpful and I urge you consult the biblical text to come to know the message and words of Jesus Christ, the eternal god and savior and redeemer of the world.