Did Jesus really just say that?
This is one of those Gospel’s that is difficult to understand. Jesus makes the central figure a dishonest steward. And then puts him forward as the one to be emulated. What are we to make of this?
Clearly Jesus is not suggesting that we steal from our boss. Neither is he suggesting that when caught we should devise a plan to steal even more. So what are we to make of it? How are we to understand it? What can we learn from this dishonest steward?
I would hold up three things that I think we can learn from the dishonest steward; focus, consistency and commitment. Granted he was focused on himself, consistently a schmuck and committed only to himself, but he was focused consistent and committed.
To be focused is to have a goal toward which you are working. It is to make major decisions and even minor choices in the light of that goal. The steward wanted nothing more than to take care of himself. His focus was on “dishonest wealth” and every choice seemed directed at acquiring it. What is your goal? Where is your focus? Is it on Jesus? Is it on growing in holiness?
To be consistent is to act or do things in the same way over time. The dishonest steward stole his master’s coffers, and when he was about to be thrown out on his ear, he did it again. He was consistent. When I was in the restaurant business, consistency was a key element of success. A meal should look and taste the same regardless of where or when you order it. Consistency is more important than being the best. It is also pretty hard to attain. Soldiers, athletes and musicians practice their technique over and over again until it becomes a part of them. For the Christian that is the lofty goal. And I for one am glad we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation for those moments when I fail at being consistently holy.
Commitment is to be all in, to give yourself over entirely to the goal. It is to keep working despite setbacks. It is to keep moving forward even when the going gets difficult. It is how we are called to live our lives for Christ. Totally committed to Christ. Living our lives for him and him alone.
To view the readings for this weekend, click here.
Fr. Steve Dos Santos, C.PP.S., is the Missionaries’ vocation director.