The parable in today’s gospel is perhaps the most puzzling of all the parables: the unjust steward who was caught cooking the books by his wealthy landowner boss who intends to show him the door. What does he do? He ingratiates himself with the very people he cheated by reducing what they owed. Therefore, they would be indebted to him and maybe help him get a job that wasn’t too taxing.
The rich landowner commended him for prudent ingenuity!!!! Very difficult to understand the moral or point of this parable. Jesus goes even further and tells the disciples they should learn a lesson from this dishonest steward and how crafty the wealthy are with their wealth.
I still don’t care for this parable. I can only say in response that I have always believed you have to be very smart to create all sorts of devious ways to cheat and make lots of money in very nefarious ways. Think of the intelligence and well thought out plans a dishonest person makes in maneuvering money and investments, so that wealth is increased and untouched by taxes. And the energy and ingenuity!!. I still don’t quite get money laundering even after watching Breaking Bad twice!! I’m just not that smart.
However, and here’s the rub: what if these extremely creative, manipulative people used these “talents” for increasing financial gain and all the time and energy needed to carry out the plans, to create honest avenues to help the poor, the outcast, the disadvantaged? What if these truly gifted people used all their talents and creativity to help make the bank accounts of struggling people stronger and more productive? People who have the know-how in investing money and assets are essential when a community, parish, outreach organization, or charity want to thrive in their mission.
In investing whatever I have for my retirement, I want to go to the smartest, financially-creative person out there in helping me increase my assets. Wouldn’t you?
Just as long as it’s done honestly. For the most part.