Where bookkeeping went bad, Christ came to reconcile

Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “‘Nine hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ “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 16:1-9)

Yesterday, I sent an On Air Question to Basic Gospel regarding Luke 16:1-15. Except for the last 4 verses of the passage, I couldn’t yet understand what was going and how Christ related this parable to himself, to the work he was about to do, to the kingdom of God, the assembly of God with his people.

When I woke up this morning, this is what the Spirit had taught me. The passage illustrates a form of bookkeeping that was at first neglected, but now was being taken care of. To make it a win-win situation, the manager knocked off interests from the debts from each debtor. What probably made his management look so bad is that he didn’t even know or have a record of what was owed. Instead, he seemed to have remembered from memory who the debtors were.  Thus, he had to rely on whatever the debtors would tell him. Regardless of his negligence, some reconciliation needed to be done. This work benefited the manager, the debtors, and the master since now the master would then have written records, the agreed-upon bills, to collect on at his will. That provided some relief to the debtors and the master and the manager altogether. It may be that he wasn’t keeping records of what he was handing out to the debtors. Going back to his master, he could then present a list of all the debtors and what they owed, which was initially his job, to manage the wealth of the rich man. This illustrates the reconciliation Christ documented with his blood on the cross to bring the world back to God. It wasn’t that Christ was a negligent manager, but that the good that the manager did resembles the good that Christ did which benefited Christ, the world, and God. Thank you, God, for teaching us what only You can reveal to us.

“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:25:26)

Verse 9, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” I believe this goes along with the command to love each other by helping those in need. People who are helped when in need are hopefully grateful and can manifest such gratitude toward others including the ones who had helped them.

As verse 10-12 put it, Jesus is the faithful servant, who is now the manager of God’s household.

(Matthew 28:18) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

“But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” (Hebrews 3:6)

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