On being a slacker

Psalm 66, 67 (Morning)

Psalm 19, 46 (Evening)

1 Maccabees. 2:29-43,49-50

Acts 28:14b-23

Luke 16:1-13

Our Gospel reading today, also known as “The parable of the dishonest manager,” is one that often leaves us scratching our heads. “Did I just hear that right? Did Jesus praise that old slacker? He just cheated his own boss and the boss thinks it’s okay?” If that’s not enough, Jesus’ explanation is so full of double and triple negatives, most of us have no idea what he was saying until he got to that “You can’t serve God and money” part. THAT part is easy enough to pick up.

Wow, my head is exploding. Is yours?

Here’s the part that catches my eye, though. The master gave his manager his walking papers at the very beginning of the story–yet, he goes out and sees the folks who owe his master one last time and sets about slashing debts left and right in an attempt to make friends so he won’t be in the street. It’s probably a safe bet that he bagged on his own commission to do that. Perhaps that’s the part the boss noticed–that his manager, who could have made an ungrateful exit by walking out and singing “Take this Job and Shove it” after he was dismissed, instead, did something profitable in the long run. We are not told specifically if the boss had a change of heart and kept his manager, but it’s certainly reasonable to consider that possibility.

Well, and you know, the truth of the matter is, all of us have been slackers at something now and then, and once in a while we’ve even been caught at it. What did we do, once we were caught with our britches down? Did we just walk away with a “stuff it” attitude, or did we consider who our potential friends might be and try to make the best of a bad situation? Did we leave behind a pile of resentments, or did we set about making amends?

When we find ourselves behind the 8-ball in the storms and trials of life, it often takes that realization that we are powerless before we get around doing what we ought to have done in the first place. Sometimes we even get back what we thought was lost forever, if only we’d loosen up a bit on that whole “need to control” thing.

What kind of debts might we slash to pieces if we were caught being a slacker? What changes when we finally admit we’re too week to dig and too embarrassed to beg?

Maria Evans, a surgical pathologist from Kirksville, MO, writes about the obscurities of life, medicine, faith, and the Episcopal Church on her blog, Kirkepiscatoid

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