Scripture: Luke 16:
1 Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 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.’
3 "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— 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’
5 "So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
6 " ‘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.’
7 "Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
" ‘A thousand bushels [b] of wheat,’ he replied.
"He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’
8 "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.
Observation: It’s better to compromise a partial victory than to suffer a total defeat.
Application: Back when I used to sell cars for a living, one of my bosses had a saying that he quoted often during negotiations, "I’d rather have a slice of pie, than to have none at all." He meant that if he couldn’t get the full price of the car that he was wanting, he was willing to take a smaller amount and have something for it than to let it sit there and get nothing. It seems to me that this is a smart idea.
I think there is a message here for the people of the church today. We are so bent on total victory, total acceptance of our (many various) doctrines and total support from the outside world that we refuse to compromise at all. I’m not trying to get political, and I’m not trying to say that we should throw away our values. I’m simply saying that by being too stubborn we may be standing still, where we could be moving forward a half-step here and there.
There are so many different specific circumstances that could be talked about here, and I don’t intend to get into any of them because this isn’t a teaching about a specific circumstance, it is a teaching about a certain frame of mind that I think Christians need to hear. The tree that is able to sway in the wind grows much taller than the brittle branch that breaks and falls to the ground.
The master commended the dishonest manager in the end because he had acted wisely. By accepting partial payments from the people who were indebted to the master, he got something where before, there was nothing and at the same time gained favor with those who had before felt only malice toward him. At the end of the day, the master walked away with more than he had, and the manager was in a better position as well.
Prayer: Heavenly Father,
Help me to speak your word and spread your love. Where I can see victory let me seize it and where I see barriers help me to move around them. Forgive me when I fall short, and grant me the serenity I need to accept all people as worthy of your love.