What would Jesus say about Gordon Gekko and Bud Fox? What difference would it make? Well if have not heard Gordon Gekko is out of prison and makes a return to Wall Street (Money Never Sleeps). Yes, I will see the follow-up to the 1987 hit if for nothing else, nostalgia. One of my mentor’s ways to mix in a different rhythm was to take in a matinee on occasion. Being the good “mentee” I followed along. Wall Street was one of our favorites. Some of you may recall Black Monday, also a 1987 pocketbook buster.
The key question turns on what happens when what you have does not matter any longer. Maybe you have lost a large portion of your retirement. Could be you have watched investment after investment fail to return. Some would suggest we need better luck. Others would contend we just were not shrewd enough. Still a few would think maybe you were too honest. Consider these possibilities and you may well work your way to the parable in Luke 16:1-13. (Dis-)honesty. Shrewdness. Impending judgment. Commendation. Any of these words would engender a particular response when thinking about the ethic of Jesus. But, to read Jesus commending a person who is described as dishonest creates a good bit of consternation if not outright panic among the faithful.
And, that makes the parable of the “Unjust Steward” difficult for interpreters. Here in the office we have been shaking our head all week over this one. A careful read helps us see shrewdness is commended not dishonesty. But at the same time the person that is considered shrewd is dishonest. So what to do? Leave it as Tony Jones does? Look at it the way Russell does?
Could it be Jesus is suggesting that “children of the light” should be as shrewd about their living out the ways of the Kingdom of God as the unjust steward was at positioning himself in a charitable network when he would surely be fired? In other words, if relationships are more important than people, then of all people Jesus’ followers should be more concerned about people than what they possess. After all it does seem to be Jesus’ Way.