This is a difficult parable to interpret. It is a story about as choice a group of rascals as one could find anywhere.
The steward was a rascal. He was a slave, but he was in charge of running his master's estate. In Israel, there were many absentee landlords. The master may have been one of these, and his business was entrusted to his steward. The steward had followed a career of embezzlement.
The debtors were no worse than the steward. No doubt what they owed was rent. Rent was often paid to the landlord, not in money, but in kind. It was often an agreed proportion of the produce of the part of the estate that was rented. The steward knew that he had lost his job. Then he had a brilliant idea. He falsified the books to show the debtors owed less than they did.
This would have two effects: (1st) the debtors would be grateful to him; (2nd) much more effective, he had involved the debtors in his own scam, and if worse came to worst, he was now in a strong position to exercise blackmail. The master himself was something of a rascal; because of being shocked at the whole proceeding, he appreciated the shrewd brain behind it and praised the steward for what he did.
The difficulty of the parable is that Luke attached four different lessons to it: (1st) in verse 8, the lesson is that the sons of this world are wiser in their generation than the sons of light. This means that if only the true Christian was as eager, and ingenious in his attempt to follow Jesus as the man of the world is in this attempt to gain money, and comfort, he would be a much better man. Our Christianity will begin to be real, and effective only when we spend as much time, and effort on it as we do on our worldly activities.
Life Application: How diligent is your pursuit of God, and Godly ways of doing things?
Praise/Prayer: Dear Father, how thankful I am for Your love, and mercy that flows to Your children. You want us to look to You each day for Your directions on how to live, and what You are wanting us to be doing for Your Kingdom. Help me to live my last days aggressively for You, because that is my desire. Amen!
(continued on Tuesday)