Luke 16 “His Master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly, for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.”
I am often amazed by the creativity and energy which scammers and thieves use to accomplish their goal of stealing money. Sometimes it seems they work harder at their “craft” than the average person does at honest work.
In the parable of the unrighteous manager, Jesus seems to be praising understanding, ingenuity, creativity, and energy in the pursuit of a goal. He even seems to be specially applauding the shrewdness that causes even those who were “fleeced” to stop and admire the handiwork of those that fleeced them.
Jesus clearly states in this parable that there is a lack of this type of shrewdness among His disciples. He even seems to be lamenting this fact.
I admit that I am not as smart as today’s scammers are. I do not know the money system well enough to take advantage of it and of others—or even to avoid being taken advantage of.
But that is ok, because that is not the area in which Jesus wants me to have expertise. He wants me to be an expert in spiritual things, in how His kingdom works, in how to fish for men, in how to defeat our old enemy. He wants me to study these things, to know them so well that I can easily and quickly respond with shrewdness, so as to serve Him with creativity, ingenuity and confident energy.
The most challenging thing to me in this parable is that I cannot excuse myself by saying I am not smart enough and thereby avoid the hard truth found here. Jesus clearly attributes this problem to a lack of faithfulness and a divided heart, not a lack of intelligence.
Just as scammers and thieves are single-minded and diligent and faithful to learn all the tricks of their trade, so also I ought to be in the calling of serving Christ shrewdly.