Making the Choice

Luke 16:
1 Jesus said to his disciples, "There was once a rich man who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running up huge personal expenses.
2 So he called him in and said, 'What's this I hear about you? You're fired. And I want a complete audit of your books.'
3 "The manager said to himself, 'What am I going to do? I've lost my job as manager. I'm not strong enough for a laboring job, and I'm too proud to beg... .
4 Ah, I've got a plan. Here's what I'll do... then when I'm turned out into the street, people will take me into their houses.'
5 "Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in debt to his master.
He said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'
6 "He replied, 'A hundred jugs of olive oil.'
"The manager said, 'Here, take your bill, sit down here-quick now-write fifty.'
7 "To the next he said, 'And you, what do you owe?'
"He answered, 'A hundred sacks of wheat.'
"He said, 'Take your bill, write in eighty.'
8 "Now here's a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Street-wise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits.
9 I want you to be smart in the same way - but for what is right - using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you'll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior."
10 Jesus went on to make these comments: If you're honest in small things, you'll be honest in big things; 11 If you're a crook in small things, you'll be a crook in big things.
12 If you're not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store?
13 No worker can serve two bosses: He'll either hate the first and love the second Or adore the first and despise the second. You can't serve both God and the Bank.    (The Message Bible)

This is one of the most startling and in some ways, puzzling passages of scripture in the Bible.
First, there is the story Jesus told his disciples and then there are the comments He made about the character of the disciples.

Concerning the parable in verses 1 to 9, here are some things to consider about the Crooked Manager:
he was a thief, who spent all that he stole.
He put aside no savings from his stealing. We know this because he had nothing to fall back on when his job was threatened.
when he realised he would be fired, he continued to steal his master's money, but this time he gave discounts to the clients of 40 and 50 percent, because he intended to live off his generosity to these clients when he no longer had a job.
the crisis of losing his job caused this Crooked Manager to think about his future and make provision for his future, even though the way he did this was still crooked.
he was not ashamed to steal his master's money, but he was ashamed to beg after he was fired! What a twisted sense of values!
this man is an example of what verse 8 calls a street-wise person, and no Christian should follow his example in living.

Now consider these things concerning the Rich Man:
he kept an eye on his resources. He knew that his manager was crooked and decided to do something about it promptly.
his money was NOT his god: his heart was so detached from his wealth, that he could praise the Crooked Manager for thinking of providing for the manager's future, even though the way in which the Manager did so was still crooked.
he was evidently a genuinely good man, who had gained his wealth in an honest manner.
honest and good people can find that they have employees with a crooked mind-set.

Now consider the comments of Jesus:
Jesus wants his disciples to be as smart and alert as the manager where our resources are concerned, but
Jesus wants us to have a right heart and attitude to money.
The set of your heart is exposed by your attitude to money and resources: either crooked or honest
the way in which God promotes you, is to observe how you manage small resources. If you are honest, you will have the opportunity to manage larger and larger responsibilities.
We cannot have compartmentalised lives: we cannot be Sunday Christians and then worship Money the rest of the week. Either God or Money will dominate our hearts and lives.

Father in heaven, fix my heart on You and Your principles so firmly,
that I keep a heart of honesty and gratitude, which pleases You;
and I also become smart and alert in handling my resources,
which benefits your kingdom and brings You great glory,
just like my Lord Jesus Christ,    Amen.

New inspiration tomorrow, God willing.
See you then!