More on That Puzzling Parable

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I would be a fool if I told you that now, after two hours’ study, I fully understand the Parable of the Unjust Steward in Luke 16. But maybe it would be fair to say I misunderstand it less than I did when I read it first thing this morning.

Pondering the meaning of Christ’s words is not just something to do on a Sunday. As Psalm 1:1 puts it, we are to “meditate day and night” on God’s word. And because it’s convenient to post it here, let me offer you some of Matthew Henry’s meditations on this parable ( ), courtesy of the Bible Gateway.

I got off on the wrong foot with this parable, thinking Jesus was still talking to the Pharisees, to whom He told the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. I just kept reading, and missed the significance of the opening sentence of Luke 16: “And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward,” etc. Jesus has turned from the Pharisees to address His disciples. But the Pharisees were still there, as v. 14 tells us: “And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.” The Pharisees heard the proverb, too, and laughed at it. They didn’t listen.

So the parable is spoken to those who are disposed to listen, and who will make an effort to understand it, as we ought to.

Can I tell you, yet, what the parable means? I must confess, not really. Not without more study, more meditation–and more discussion, too. But I think I can say that Our Lord is comparing the believers’ carelessness, when it comes to the “true riches” of the Kingdom, with the great and energetic care taken by worldly folk to pursue their worldly goals; and that “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” The crooked steward’s master commends the prudence and ingenuity of the steward, although it was used for a dishonest end; and we ought to take equal care in seeking the Kingdom of God.

And now I’ll read these posts to my wife and see if I’ve made any sense to her.

P.S.: I remember a news story from some years ago, about a convict who spent a long, long time carefully and ingeniously fashioning a rope–out of dental floss!– which he used to escape from prison (only to be caught again pretty soon). And I remember thinking at the time, “If this guy had ever devoted that much labor and persistence to some honest work, he would have accomplished much.” I think that story has some relevance to this parable.

5 comments on “More on That Puzzling Parable

  1. I’ve always thought that was a very interesting parable.
    I came up with an explanation of it a while back, but now I can’t remember exactly what it was. Hmmm. I’ll have to go read it now and see if I can recall.

    1. Haha, I don’t mean it that way. I just had a thought on it 🙂 But when you put it that way … I guess I should write a book and become a bestseller! Once I’ve remembered, that is 😉

    2. Or you could start a megachurch. Especially if you can demonstrate that the parable means we can do anything we want and God will Affirm it.

  2. I’ve always been puzzled by this particular parable because it’s not as easily understood as the Lord’s other parables. I don’t get the connection between the characters and their actions in this parable with what I’m supposed to be learning from it. I’m so glad that you are going to do some further research on this one because as a busy working woman and housewife, I’d rather leave the bulk of the studying to you. Just let me know what you discover! Okay?

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