The Parable of the Shrewd Manager originated in a gathering with “sinners” and tax collectors. Later, in a private conversation with the disciples, Jesus seems to criticize the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law for failing to be good stewards of their calling.
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were gathering around to hear Jesus, but the Pharisees and teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked, ‘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 know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ So the manger called in each one of his master’s debtors and asked each, ‘How much do you owe?’ Each announced their obligation. ‘Take your bill,’ the manager said. ‘Sit down quickly, and reduce it.'”
Three popular versions of the Lord’s prayer are:
“Forgive us our sins.”
“Forgive us our debts.”
“Forgive us our trespasses.”
Could it be the “shrewd manager” serves an example of those who cancel what God calls “sin” in order to gain favor with the world?
Jesus continues, “The master commended (praised) the dishonest manager because he 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.
“… people will welcome me into their houses …”
“Whoever can be trusted with very little,” Jesus says, “can also be trusted with much. Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and sneered at Jesus. But Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts.”