Praise for a crook
The Unrighteous Steward
My father expounded to me—early and often—the principle of the trapeze. "Never let go of one trapeze," he said, "until you have a firm grip on another." By this he hoped to encourage his irresponsible son to think ahead, plan for the future and (most importantly) not leave one job until another had been secured. The point is generally well taken, but he also allowed that at times the only proper thing to do was to choose an honorable unemployment over a dishonest job.
Something of the same sense is in this story from Christ. He is not commending the dishonesty of the steward, but his shrewdness in planning for the future. The shrewdness in this instance was the use of dishonest means for the end—but at least the fellow was planning for the end. So often we give the end no thought.
Our Lord encourages us to a parallel application here. He is not encouraging us to be dishonest. He is encouraging us to think ahead. In particular, it might be put this way:
· You have a certain amount of money in this world. Some have a little, some have a lot. That's not the point.
· You will not always have that money. When you die, it will go to another, and you will face your heavenly Father to give account.
· Give account of what? Your stewardship of the things he has given you on this earth. If he has blessed you greatly, he will ask what you have done with his blessings.
· So the question comes down to: what did you do with the temporary blessings God gave you—in eternal terms? Did you use those blessings for eternal purposes, or temporary ones?
We understand this, in a sense. How often have you said, "People are important, money isn't?" But do you really believe it?
Here's a test: if people are important, what have you done to help those people whose supply of money is much less than yours? There are such people all around us. We cannot solve all problems, but we can solve the ones God gives us to solve. He would not hand them to us if we could not.
Are you using the wealth of today to obtain things eternal? "He is no fool if he would choose to give the things he cannot keep to buy what he can never lose." Sometimes we need to review our investment strategies for eternal gain.