One of our presidential candidates used to like to say that on TV, and that’s what the man in our gospel story today is about to hear from his employer.
This story in the Gospel of Luke is known as the Parable of the Dishonest Manager, and it’s honestly a little tricky for us to get our heads around at first.
When I found out this was the text I had drawn for my first sermon at St. Francis, I was afraid “you’re fired” was exactly what I was going to hear as soon as I got out of the pulpit!
But I have faith that we can figure this out.
Let’s review the facts as we know them. We start with two characters: the rich man and his manager.
Word on the street is that the manager has been embezzling funds and taking kickback, and the rich man summons him to his office for a pre-firing dressing down.
In serious hot water, the manager realizes he’s not trained for any other type of job and he’d better lay some groundwork for his future.
So going to his master’s clients, he reduces their bills, thereby earning himself their gratitude and restoring his master’s reputation from someone who employs corrupt officials to someone who is generous with his clients.
We can follow up to this point. The manager is trying to make the best of a bad situation, and since he’s already defrauded his boss, he might as well go whole hog and make himself look good by unethically reducing the amount of money the clients owe.
You would think that when the rich man found out that his manager had again cheated him out of money, he would call for the tar and feathers.
But no. Jesus said that the “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.”
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