Scripture: Luke 16:1-9
The verses that stuck out for me are…
“…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 get by on good behaviour.”
This parable is not very popular, probably because it’s dangerous. The message seems to live a little in the grey area of right & wrong, good & bad. How can this employee be praised for what look like a selfish act?
One commentary suggests that the employee took his own commission off of the bills owed to his master. Earning a commission in this way seems to be in line with what historians know about the way of business in that period of history for that part of the world. The fact that this detail wasn’t mentioned in Jesus’ story is because it was such a common practice.
If this is true, then the employee is praised for being selfless and thinking beyond the present. He was praised for thinking creatively, for being willing to let go of what was owed him in the present to be able to survive in the future. He was “…using every adversity to stimulate (him) to creative survival…”
As a follower of Christ, I feel encouraged to learn to look at adversity differently! I often take adversity personally, thinking there is something that I did wrong or need to change. Instead, I hear Jesus challenging me to look at adversity as if it is a magnifying glass, focusing on and emphasizing what is most important in life. Stripping away all the distractions so I can, “…concentrate (my) attention on the bare essentials…”. I am so far from this I feel afraid to even think this way. What's that about?
Jesus, I want to learn more about what you mean when you say you want me to live, really live! I also want to know how I can use adversity in my life in the way you describe in this parable. Teach me how to look at it through your eyes.
Joan is married to Cal and is on the Lead Team at Seeds as the Equipping Director.