This parable about the shady steward is one of the most puzzling Jesus told. Not only does this steward get away with bribing the master’s debtors by reducing their debt, but his boss praises him for being shrewd!
What’s the moral for us? … What’s the takeaway from this odd parable?
Maybe it’s right before our eyes.
Jesus praises the steward for forgiving the debtors their debts. Isn’t forgiving our debts precisely what Jesus came to do? Isn’t the steward, in an odd way, doing what Jesus did?
Remember the Our Father. We Catholics say, "forgive us our trespasses," but many Christians say, "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Jesus taught us this prayer; it's how his heart works, it’s how he thinks. Maybe this story is about the shrewdness of forgiveness.
When our Master asks for an accounting of our life, what will we have to show Him? Maybe this bad steward got it right and Jesus wants to find us forgiving our debtors their debts. The shrewd thing he is calling us to do is - forgive others - like the steward forgave his Master's creditors. That's our calling.
Everything we own is a gift from God. God is the owner of everything, and we are His stewards. Our call is to use the Master’s resources to further the Master’s goals. In this specific case, he is calling us to be generous with His gifts to benefit others. Our call is to make the debts of those around us lighter, to let them know we have a master who finds forgiveness praiseworthy.