Vicar’s Reflection- Responding to Crisis: Ordinary Sunday 25, 22 September 2019.
ERO: These three little letters strike dread into the heart of a school principal. They mean that the Education Review Office, is about to visit and review your school. In the same way fear strikes the heart of a business manager at the words “IRD audit.” This is just how the manager feels in the parable told by Jesus in Luke 16. He has been cheating his master out of his property. When called to account, his cheating heart finds a way out of his trouble. Are we shocked? Yes, but by doing this he earns praise, it seems, both from his master, and by implication from Jesus. Understanding this parable is a challenge. Why does Jesus apparently praise someone for acting immorally? We may be missing some of the ironic humour in the story due to the cultural and time distance from which we hear it. We also cannot compare it to other versions in Mark or Matthew because it is unique to Luke. The story does not seem to be told to make a moral point, rather, it is about the need to act with urgency when facing a crisis. If such a scoundrel can act with shrewdness to secure his future when facing ruin, how much more should those who seek to lead Godly lives act with urgency when confronted with the coming Kingdom? For those who truly encounter Jesus face a crisis and must make a decision. Do we follow him? Or someone, or something else?