January 18, 2016


A person relatively new to our area lavishes a mixture of praise and platitudes on influential people in order to ingratiate himself with the community. The manipulation factor, which is reminiscent of the parable of the shrewd manager, is something I struggle to understand. “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. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:8-9 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----There’s certainly one thing we know about it: gaining friends for yourselves with worldly wealth is not what gets you into heaven. Following Christ gets us into heaven. Therefore, the “…so that when…” can not be stating some causal relationship for getting into heaven. Nor can it be stating why we might be welcomed into eternal dwellings in heaven rather than just being welcomed onto sidewalks or gutters as kind of “homeless people”. Jesus told us His Father’s mansion has plenty of rooms. And it isn’t God’s loving nature to save us unto being homeless, especially for our not having been manipulative amongst the world’s bloody people with the world’s bloody money.
-----But “so that when” can be stating a chronological inevitability. The passage would have had much less ambiguity if Jesus would have just used “and” instead of “so that”. This possibility directs the question to what the “it” that becomes gone might be. If that “it” were the money God gives into my personal charge, you would see me spend up mine in super short order, because this passage would be meaning that you get to go to heaven when you run out of money. If this were so bankruptcy court would be heaven. I don’t quite think it is. Jesus has used a little ambiguity to fit reality to His parable. For it is not when your money runs out that you go to heaven. It is when your physical situation runs out that you go. That is to say, when your part which God wrote into the script of temporal life is gone, you go to heaven. It is like when Jesus said “it is gone” He was meaning “your time is up”.
-----So the point is about what gets you through this life rather than what gets you into heaven. And I don’t think Jesus was telling us to just go get worldly with our money. It seems to me He was admitting a reality His disciples would soon need to live within. People are partisan. It is almost an unavoidable, human nature. And their partisanship leads to group behavior. Our trek through this life is made easier and our ambitions more achievable when we wisely take part in the human nature which powers social mechanisms. This is not the only time Jesus implied the necessity to maintain a wisely selected participation in the courses of human affairs. During His last week before death, referring to having a year or so earlier sent the seventy out with no bags, money, or provisions, Jesus told His disciples, “But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one.” (Luke 22:36) He was indicating their need to engage society until He brings this degraded social system to its deserved end. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt 10:16) Jesus did not intend us to cloister ourselves into monasteries. We were meant to continue on as people in a people’s world. But not just as any old people. But rather, we are to be wise people with minds transforming into substances making for right and godly behaviors for mixing into the people’s social mechanisms. When those behaviors are at the root of monies used for “ingratiation” it broadens otherwise narrow avenues for achieving God’s effects on earth. Accordingly, in those broader avenues more gold, silver, and precious stones can be built on the foundation than could have otherwise been, so then, with more works making it through the fire you will enter heaven to a bigger welcome.

Love you all,
Steve Corey