The Unjust Steward (Lk 16:1-8)
O Jesus, wake me up to the imminence of the Kingdom, so I respond fully.
Picture Jesus with His disciples.
The parable uses real-life details. Rich owners often lived at a distance and depended on stewards who held promissory oaths of debtors. The steward wants the changes put into the original handwriting of the debtors (so the deception goes undetected).
The master’s surprising praise of his unjust steward has puzzled many, but Jesus uses the parable to shock us into action in our crisis of the imminent judgment. The unjust steward was caught in this personal crisis. He sized up the situation, came up with a solution and acted decisively. Jesus wants to shock us into decisive action concerning our personal salvation.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
A rich man had a steward who had wasted his goods. He said to him, “What is this I hear of you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can be steward no longer.”
The steward thought to himself, “What shall I do because my master will take away my stewardship. To dig, I am not able. To beg, I am ashamed. I know what I will do so that after I am removed from my stewardship, they might receive me into their houses.” He called in his master’s debtors. To the first he asked, “How much do you owe my master?” He said, “A hundred barrels of oil.” The steward said, “Take your bill and quickly write fifty.” He said to another, “How much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred bushels of wheat.” The steward said, “Take your bill and write eighty.”
The Lord commended the unjust steward for he had acted wisely. For the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.”
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- The crux of the parable is that disaster is imminent. The Master will fire the steward.
- The steward knows he must act while he still has access to his master’s debtors.
- He acts quickly and effectively. He is able to ingratiate himself with those who have much money.
- By commending this action, Jesus says to the crowd, “You, also, are in imminent trouble. The judgment is at the door. Imitate the man’s quickness and cleverness.”
- The parable has a shock value. By the surprise ending, Jesus accuses the crowds of their failure to realize that the crisis of judgment is imminent.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- Let me not delay, O Lord. Losing my soul is an eternal disaster.
- Let me not say, “Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow” (St. Augustine).
- O Jesus, my obligations are serous. These are weighty matters.
- Let me move quickly. Let me take the steps.
- O Lord, the Kingdom is mine if I act. You will receive me into an eternal dwelling.
- Lord, if you need to shock me, you have my permission. Awaken me from my lethargy.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
+ I will examine my life to see my situation clearly and to do what is needed.
+ I will act quickly and not delay.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.)
Jesus commended the steward for acting wisely.