In these verses Jesus tells the parable of the dishonest manager. Although difficult to interpret, the parable of the dishonest manager can teach us a valuable lesson in developing spiritual maturity.
In the parable Jesus described a dishonest manager who mishandled the business affairs of his boss and knew he was about to be fired. But the business manager possessed a capability best described as acumen. Acumen is insightfulness–the keen insight one uses for making quick and accurate judgments. “Shrewdness” is the more common word we use to describe this capacity but usually carries a more negative connotation that acumen doesn’t.
Although the dishonest manager had careless disregard for his boss’s business, he used his business acumen in preparing for his forced retirement and the boss commended the manager for it.
Jesus complained that worldly people use acumen to build wealth and goodwill to benefit themselves better than God’s people do (vs 8)!
Jesus then suggested that God’s people should be shrewd about preparing for eternal life in the same way the dishonest manager used it to prepare for his impending unemployment (vs. 9).
So Jesus seemed to think acumen was a capability evident among worldly people but lacking among God’s people.
But shouldn’t the reverse be true? Shouldn’t God’s people be the ones with insight more than the people of the world because they have the indwelling Holy Spirit!
The key to developing spiritual maturity is to exercise the spiritual acumen God has given each of us. Instead of jumping to our own conclusions, let us ask God for insight in making judgments and decisions about every aspect of our lives to better prepare ourselves for eternal life.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5, ESV)
- The Parable of the Shrewd Manager: A Closer Look (jmdansville.wordpress.com)