PASSAGE: “Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer. Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes. So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light” (Luke 16:1-8).
COMMENT: This is a difficult and confusing parable, and no one can say with any certainty exactly what point Jesus is making. And the verse immediately following isn't much help: "And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations" (Luke 16:9).
This entire passage in Luke concerns money or riches, directed at Pharisees who were known to be "lovers of money" (16:14). So I think perhaps what Jesus may be suggesting is that money and spiritual energy are really one and the same thing. We may think that our human needs must be met according to a code of conduct very different from spiritual law—look out for oneself, enforce the letter of every debt—but it's all the same energy. The dishonest manager decided to act out of love—because he couldn't think of anything else to do! How often do we find a rewarding spiritual choice only when we're backed against a wall created by fear of lack. His diminishment of debt released a loving energy, and the consequence was an increase of loving energy in his own life as well.
This is, I grant, no more than a glimmer of possibility in a fairly muddy parable. It would seem to affirm that if we consistently making loving, spiritual choices—even in situations where those choices seem foolish or unrealistic—we will continue to experience the positive results of those choices in our lives.