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Being a Crafty Steward

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I prefer to talk of the parable in Luke 16:1-13 as “The Parable of Crafty Steward”
and this for a particular reason. When the dishonest steward was praised for being
prudent, he was placed under the category of the “wise” which in biblical language
also covers the “crafty”. Jacob (who later became Israel) was crafty, and if the
dishonest steward was to the mind of Jesus a Jew, then he was in this sense a true
son of Israel. The term “crafty” is also appropriate here since it is the Lord himself to tells his disciples that they are to be “as simple as doves and as crafty
as serpents”. 

The image below is an illustration of how to my mind Luke 16:1-13 is geared towards people who are to live in the world but not become OF the world.  This itself would already require a certain kind of prudence, a certain kind of craftiness.   Click on the image for a larger view.

I explain the parable in an
article found here.
  Jesus was no different from the story-tellers of his
time.  He employed an extreme, exaggerated example for people to remember because
on it hangs a series of principles that he would like them to remember (memory by
association).  The Christian will have to work out his salvation “with fear
and trembling”  as St. Paul would put it.  The crafty steward wanted to
ensure for himself a future that is secure; the disciple on the other hand will
be working for a place in the kingdom.  “Strive to enter through the narrow
gate” Jesus tells us, “… for when the time is up, the owner will stand to close
the door.  Don’t be one of those who will be left standing outside.”

Dealing with matters of wealth is difficult.  It is one of the temptations
of idolatry, that is to worship God but at the same time to pursue wealth as if
it were the only thing for oneself.  Thus, the three principles that Jesus
gives his disciples:  first, to make friends with this world’s goods; second,
to be trustworthy in administering the goods one has received from; and thirdly,
to remain unattached to wealth.  For a more thorough treatment of these principles, read the article on the topic.

Originally posted 2007-09-26 22:14:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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