Day 204 – Not Mr Fixit
On: May 23, 2015 | By: SWLadmin
| Under: Blog
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Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg – I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “ ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. Luke 16:1-8
Jesus’s parables usually take an everyday situation to reveal a spiritual principal. The stories also give a useful insight, in their own right, into how we might better live out our daily lives. For example, the Good Samaritan exemplifies the offering of meaningful and costly assistance, as well as illustrating who my neighbour is. The Prodigal Son is not just a picture of God’s love and grace; it also gives pointers to working through the stresses and strains of family life.
This tale, entitled the Shrewd Manager in my bible, is an odd one at first sight. The manager has not shown due diligence but, when he realises that this will result in him losing his job, he reviews the situation and works out a plan that will (a) mitigate the effect of his management failure, and (b) endear him to others in the community with whom he will have to seek new employment. We are told that, from a worldly standpoint, the man has acted shrewdly. And – there’s often a sting in the tale – Jesus adds that His followers are not known for acting this shrewdly.
We’ll consider the wider application of this story tomorrow, but the immediate lesson seems to be that, whilst Jesus’ followers are not of the world, we are very much in the world. Rather than being detached and disengaged, we should use every effort to carry out tasks to the best of our ability. This includes responding quickly and decisively when we get things wrong – not, as I have been tempted to do on more than one occasion, retreating to the prayer room and asking to be bailed out by an invisible Mr Fixit!
These verses almost certainly will not apply, if we simply ask for an easy way out! “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14
As a believer, I must face the consequences of my actions just the same as anyone else. The difference is that I can turn to a loving Heavenly Father to strengthen me in my difficulty.
Father God, please grant me the honesty to face up to mistakes when I make them, and the courage to grapple with the consequences. That Your name might be glorified. Amen