Ninth Sunday after Trinity
It’s a strange parable that Jesus told—strange, because it doesn’t really fit the mold of the other parables that Jesus told. For years, the parable has been known as “The Unrighteous Steward.” You heard it already, but here’s a quick summary:
- A master has a slave that is in charge of the master’s financial affairs. Think of Joseph in Potiphar’s house—he had the same role. (cf. Genesis 39:1-6)
- Word reached the master that his steward was wasting his money. If true, it’s enough for the master to put him out at best or to have him executed at worst.
- The master confronts the steward and demands an answer and puts him out right then and there.
- The steward, put out, devises a plan to go to the master’s debtors and forgives them each a portion of their debt to the master.
- When master catches word of what the former steward had done, he praised him for his shrewdness.
Why is the steward called unrighteous? It is not because he forgave a portion of the master’s debts without the master’s consent or knowledge, but likely because as the parable starts, he is mismanaging his master’s wealth.