Dishonest. Deceitful. Unfaithful.
These are not words I would have used to describe myself. But recently, I was reading a parable in Luke that hit me hard. And as my eyes rolled over these words, I saw myself resonating with the “dishonest manager.” Maybe you will, too.
“There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much.
Luke 16:10, ESV.
As professionals, leaders, managers, owners… what does it look like to be faithful?
Personally, my tendency toward a scarcity mindset has been holding me back from true faithfulness. I’ve seen the resources of talent, time, and finances in high demand with low supply. This feeling of “not enough”-ness has led me to seek to conserve and secure for myself. Culturally, I see this pervasively as well.
Expand profit margins so there are more reserves. Earn more so that you can live more comfortably. Save appropriately so that you can retire earlier and enjoy the life you’ve worked to build.
There is nothing wrong with many of these things in and of themselves. But do we ever reach a point where it feels enough?
How often do we feel the need to earn, secure, and comfort ourselves?
I can only speak for myself, but this mindset has also led to some “unfaithful” behaviors. Storing away rather than living generously. Seeking fulfillment from possessions or experiences that are fleeting. Misordered priorities of my values in exchange for elusive security.
I think if I take a step back, I look a lot like the dishonest manager. Justifying, self-serving, and believing lies that security can be earned for myself.
What I feel is scarcity. There’s not enough, Lord.
He who is faithful with little.
I seem to believe that if there was more, I would steward better. If only our profit margins were $x extra, then I could give more. If there was x amount of margin in my time, then I would be more philanthropic. When I make x amount of money, then I’ll be able to rest.
But I think the more likely truth is that if I cannot live faithfully with what I have now, then I will struggle to do so if resources and opportunity were to increase.
This is true personally and professionally. As our work and businesses grow and expand, the weight of responsibility will shift and change.
So for me, the practice must start now. In my feelings of not enough, need, and scarcity. The heart work happens in the little. I can learn to trust that God knows what I have and what is asked of me. He has never not provided. I can act in faithfulness even if it is uncomfortable or scary. As He softens and shapes me into the posture He has called me to, I can experience a life of faithfulness in the little and the much.
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