The prodigal manager

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
“There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property….” Jesus tells this story (Luke 16.1-13) in which the manager, about to be fired, continues to squander his master’s property, reducing all the man’s accounts receivable. But the master ends up praising the dishonest manager! Weird, huh?

People have have a hard time making sense of what lesson we are to take from this tale. But what if it’s not a lesson, but a snapshot? I imagine that God is the one who is “rich” in love, and Christ is the ridiculously generous manager, and he is indeed squandering God’s love, forgiving God’s debtors, and losing capital for the sake of relationships. Jesus says you can’t serve two masters, and he himself chooses love over profit.

What if God is perfectly happy to be ripped off, and praises those who squander divine love? What if being unable to serve two masters (or purposes) applies to God, too—and God chooses forgiveness over getting what is “owed” to God? What if God prefers relationships over profit, and love over deserving? What if God finds it satisfying when we forgive debts, even—especially— debts that (we suppose) are owed to God? What if we were to emulate Jesus and convince people that they are not so ding dang indebted to God, but really just beloved? What if in fact God does not want people’s business, but their friendship?

It could get confusing. Like Jesus’ parable. We could find ourselves so tangled up trying to understand it all that our only hope is for the manager to come along and excuse us from having to get it. “Forget all that righteousness stuff,” he says, “or having to ‘get’ the parables or understand or even believe in God. Write it off. Just be sure and say ‘Thanks’ next time you see God.”

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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