The (Dis)honest Steward

Why would the master commend the dishonest steward? And what did the steward do that would be considered prudent? If you are like me, you are probably confused by today’s Gospel and may find yourself asking similar questions. 

Reading the footnote for Luke 16:1-8 (at least in the particular Bible that sits on the desk in my office – Life Teen’s Catholic Teen Bible) gives me greater clarity when it comes to this passage. 

First, the steward is being let go for squandering his master’s property, nothing else. And the steward knows it – he doesn’t even try to fight the loss of his position. He also knows who he is, someone who is not strong enough to dig as he might have to in another position. However, he also admits his own pride in saying he is too ashamed to beg (but talking about pride could be another whole blog post). 

The steward then comes up with a plan that will help him “get in good” with his master’s debtors by reducing the amounts owed to the master. It is easy to see how such an action would ingratiate the steward to the debtors, which was his whole goal. What is not easy to see, however, is the deeper meaning of reducing the debts as it relates to the steward himself. (Hint: it relates more to him than to the master!)

A little later on, the footnote for this passage speaks to the fact that the steward was having the debtors write new notes minus the profit he would have taken for himself. In other words, the steward wasn’t trying to pull one last fast one over the master. Rather, the steward was issuing new notes that reflected only the true amount that was owed to the master. That is certainly commendable, right? How much easier would it have been for the steward to take that extra money, knowingly facing the loss of his position? 

The dishonest steward did something prudent and honest. Not only should we strive to be honest in speech by avoiding sins of gossip and speaking uncharitably, etc. but also we should strive to match that honesty in our actions as well. 

P.S. If you are looking for even further applications of this Gospel, continue on by reading verses 9-13. 

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Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is passionate about the Lord Jesus, all things college sports and telling stories and she is blessed enough to get paid for all three of her passions. You can catch her on old episodes of the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter@erinmadden2016.

Feature Image Credit: Aaron Burden,