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October 31, 2010


Bob MacDonald

I am sure there is more than a little irony. The phrases that jump out at me are the 'children of light' and faithfulness in little as an argument for receiving what is your very own. I think of the children of light as a reference to purity groups like the sect at Qumran. Though they recognize the need for purity, they are not able to achieve it since there is so little shrewdness in them. The use of money by the child of this world to have influence is a move indicating shrewdness, a commendable virtue. So how naive are we who imagine we are children of light? How impossible to see or receive what is our very own?


I'm not a trained theologian, but as far as I understand it the story is essentially as follows: the manager is sacked for financial irregularities (incompetence? fraud?) and needs to hand in the full accounts for audit. So he decides he might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, and cooks the books so as to make himself some extra 'friends'.
To me, that suggests the original problem was fraud - his reputation has gone anyway, so he might as well get some people to owe him a favour. Which is entirely logical and a smart thing to do in that situation.
Whereas, if the manager had been a 'person of the light' then the original problem would be more likely to be incompetence, so it wouldn't occur to them to fiddle the books deliberately.
I think verse 9 has to be sarcastic, given what follows: Jesus saying if we cheat on small things (which might look like the smart thing to do) then we can't be trusted full stop; if we can't be trusted with earthly stuff, then how can we expect to be trusted with heavenly stuff?
So the choice comes down to honesty (which may apparently leave you worse off) or using your cunning to protect yourself (which gives better short-term results in this world but bad long-term ones with God).

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