Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 27 of Lent, Friday, March 15, 2013

Today's Reading: Luke 16:1-13

No strings attached?  Well, I may
need a place to stay later.
This parable is another head-scratcher.  It is probably the hardest parable to deal with in the Bible.  The household manager is doing a poor job. He is dishonest and unethical.  He's admittedly weak and proud.  He cheats his former employee out of what is rightfully his.  And yet he is commended for being clever.

As Christians, we don't believe that Jesus is calling us to be cheats.  This counters too much of the rest of scripture to come to this conclusion.

So what is he saying by telling this parable?

We are left with a strange sense of reality at the end of the parable when the master doesn't get angry over losing all of the goods at the household manager's actions.  Instead he praises him for being shrewd or clever.

As I mentioned, I don't think Jesus is telling this so that we might be unethical.  It is reflective of the Kingdom of God.  We are reminded that God doesn't act in the same way that we do.  God is not constrained by our expectations.  Grace is something that is sometimes unexpected and certainly not deserved.  I think this parable shows that quality completely.

If we use this story allegorically, what would we have to give away that is not ours to give? Something we don't own ourselves?

God's grace is to be given away.  Forgiveness is ours to share.  In doing this, we find ourselves closer to God's kingdom - maybe even praised.

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