Revelations from the Word

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Make friends for yourselves

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"He also said to His disciples: There was a certain rich man who had a steward [oikonomos], and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, How much do you owe my master? And he said, A hundred measures of oil. So he said to him, Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty... So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly [phronimos]. For the sons of this world are more shrewd [phronimos] in their generation than the sons of light. And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home" (Luke 16:1-9).

Mammon is money made into a god, but it also represents everything in which we put our confidence. It directs the secular world, which is a world of injustice (as opposed to the justice of the Kingdom of God). The master sings the praises of the economist for his sensible way of managing his personal situation. In fact, the Greek word 'phronimos' means 'wise' (Matthew 25:4), 'prudent' (Matthew 7:24 and Matthew 10:16), 'he who is master of his feelings'. Jesus used this parable of the Kingdom to teach His disciples, and so put the in parallel the world (the economy of injustice) and the Kingdom of God (the sons of the light and the eternal tabernacles).

By leaving the world of injustice, we have become through faith, like Abraham, friends of God and we have entered His Kingdom of Justice (James 2:23), and by obeying Jesus we become His friends (John 15:14). Jesus asked His disciples (the sons of the light) to manage the affairs of the Kingdom with wisdom, that is to say use the mammon of injustice with the wisdom [phronimos] of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:10) for the needs of the friends of the Kingdom (our brothers and sisters in Christ). Then they become works of justice [tsédaka] (Psalm 112:9), which have eternal value for gold and silver belong to God (Haggai 2:8).

We belong to the Kingdom of God, but we are sent by Jesus Christ into the world (John 17:18). That is why we have to manage the affairs of the world with the values of the Kingdom and not the opposite. But as for the affairs of the world, our faithfulness in small things will be tested before seeing us entrusted with more important tasks. In fact, we have the works that the Father has prepared in advance for us to accomplish, but He tests us before entrusting them to us. The Hebrews had to spend forty years in the wilderness after leaving Egypt to get it out of heir heart before entering the Promised Land, therefore we will need some time before entering the works of the Kingdom. We will then be good stewards of God (Titus 1:7) and good dispensers [oikonomos] of the varied grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).