The Dishonest Steward

– Friday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time –

For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light [Luke 16:1-8]

Certain people have a knack for accomplishment. Whether business or sports, some people excel at personal gain.

The dishonest steward in today’s Gospel is one such person. He is maybe the only person in the Gospels whose bad behavior is used as an example of what to do. Jesus describes him as a steward who finds out he is being fired. He quickly goes to all the people who owe his master money and lets them off the hook with discounts on their loans. He is hoping that they will feel indebted to him when he loses his position as steward.

His behavior is certainly immoral, and Jesus is by no means commending his dishonesty. But Jesus does commend his drive for personal gain. Jesus encourages us to pursue the greatest personal gain possible. Consider when he says, “store up for yourselves treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6:20), or when he tells the story of the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46). Jesus describes heaven as a reward, a prize, a payment, and a treasure that we are encouraged to seek ambitiously. Because unlike worldly ambition, true Christian ambition benefits others. The way that we attain the kingdom of God is through service. Jesus encourages us to be aggressive, hardworking and driven in faith, hope and love.

Jesus doesn’t discourage us from wanting to be the best, the first, and the top, but he makes sure that we know that “He who wants to be first must be the servant of all” (Mark 10:44). Today’s parable instructs disciples to take initiative and to plan wisely to enter God’s kingdom.

We have permission to love ambitiously for the sake of our own heavenly reward. The more the treasure we store up for ourselves in heaven, the more we benefit everyone else. This is one of the great joys of being Christian; our spiritual well-being actually benefits others those around us.

by David Kruse

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