In today’s first reading from Philippians 3, St. Paul talks about people whose “God is their stomach; their glory is in their ‘shame.’ Their minds are occupied with earthly things.” St. Paul reminds that “our citizenship is in heaven.” We always need to be thinking of the eternal. In the Gospel reading today, Jesus tells a parable about a dishonest steward. After firing him, the master commends this dishonest steward.
At first reading, this seems like a very odd story. Why would this dishonest steward’s master commend him for “acting prudently?” He had just fired him for being dishonest, and the steward then finagled numbers from debtors who owed the master. Here’s the deal: the master is commending the dishonest steward not for being dishonest; he had just fired him for that. In fudging the numbers for the debtors, the steward was basically giving up his customary commission. He was not cheating the master at all – the master would still get all that was owed him. The steward was taking income out of his own pocket to endear himself to the debtors.
So the master gives the guy props. He came up with a great plan. By helping the people, he was helping himself. It was a win-win! Jesus said, “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.” I think it’s that whole “we need to be in the world but not of the world” thing. Meeting people where they are. Coming up with win-win solutions so that others may come into the Kingdom. Because when they do, we all win.
Father, help us to be prudent in dealing with this generation. Help us to find ways to draw people in, while never watering down the truth. Amen.