Thursday, February 22, 2007

Post #6: The First thing we learn: Be Shrewd.

SCROLL DOWN and read all the posts leading up to this one. But make sure you read the TEXT first:

The first thing is you learn is this: We are not, and yet we need to get SHREWD. We have to face the truth. We have to own up to our failure to live shrewdly. That is, in light of the future: the coming day of wrath and redemption.

V8 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.
Here is where we get stuck.

The master in the story is not God. It’s tempting to say that because he’s rich, owns property, and calls people to account. The master in the story is not God. He’s just a master. He is an illustration leading to the main point.

What’s the main point? To practice dishonesty? No – you know that from Verses 10-13. We need to be faithful. Not dishonest. Faithful in a little, and therefore faithful in much.

So what’s the main point? The main point is: the manager is shrewd. He is astute. He has street smarts. And that’s being commended, not the dishonesty. The master hates the dishonesty, presumably, but he cannot help be see the genius in the approach.

The 'super' did three things: Look closely at V3-4
  • He stops and assesses the situation. "He said to himself..." V3
  • He owns up to crisis and the coming judgment – "Now that my master is taking the position away from me..." V3
  • And he decides to actually do something: "I have decided what to do..." V4
What is the alternative? To just keep going as though there will not be a crisis – no disjuncture between now and later? Just plow on? If you knew that the stock market was going to crash tomorrow. You’d do something today. That’s not rocket science. If you know that you have cancer, you act today.

You see, we know the future of planet. And yet we do not …
  • Stop to assess our lives;
  • Nor do we own up to the crisis to come;
  • Nor do we do something in light of the coming day of wrath and redemption.
We don’t gear for God’s eternal mission the way that secular people gear for their little visions.

I have four examples of how the people of the world know more than the children of light...



Andrew said...

Many thanks Justin for great ideas here. I reckon the point is not just being shrewd generally, but "use what you've got now for maximum future benefit". I think you've covered this in your "(last) post" about "making friends", but I reckon it is central to the parable right from the start.
[AD in Bangkok]

Justin said...


I think you are right. And, of course, the talk was one unified whole: It built up to that last point.

Great to have you here, AD!