This is a rather difficult text to explain. Why does Jesus seem to heap praise on the dishonest steward? I do not really think Jesus is praising the steward at all! The seeming compliment is really a backhanded way of saying that the steward is a person of the world and its dishonest ways rather than the Kingdom of God and righteousness. Let me try to explain.

It is clear to us all that the Kingdom of God has a way of life based on the tenets and truths to be found in the Gospel. At times the Gospel will indicate a totally different response to a given situation than the one the world will choose. The steward, once he found out that he had been dismissed, ought to have learnt a lesson from his dismissal and gone off to look for another job. Once finding a new job and having learnt from his previous experience, he should have resolved to be a good and faithful employee.

When Jesus praises the steward for his astuteness I think we can read a certain level of irony in his words. Ultimately Jesus’ praise is really just an affirmation that steward belongs to this world and not to the Kingdom of God! His actions upon dismissal indicate that there is little or no repentance in his heart for what he has done wrong initially and then he compounds this initial wrong with further theft! In a sense Jesus words indicate the sentiment that if the steward wants to remain in the ways of the world then he is going about it in the right way.

Perhaps it is timely for us to look at our own response to the sin that is in our lives. Do we resolve to be rid of the sin once we notice it in our hearts or do we just maintain the status quo, not really doing anything about it at all? No matter what we have done in the past or will do in the future, if we are willing to repent God will forgive us and restore us to a place of holiness in His eyes. However, true repentance involves the desire and will to leave behind all the sin that seduces our hearts. It means turning away from the ways of sin and not entertaining sinful desires in our hearts or minds anymore. This is a difficult decision to maintain and thus we need to rely upon the Holy Spirit for the strength to persevere in this choice each day of our lives.

When I repent of my sins do I truly resolve never to perform the same sin again?

Lord Jesus, grant me the grace of true repentance. Help me to turn away from all of the sin in my life and to follow you more closely every day. Teach me how to train my heart and mind to seek the things of heaven rather than the things of the earth. Do not allow me to be seduced by the dark forces of sin at work in the world.