Monday, August 10, 2009

The Winner Takes It All

Three stories about three different guys each trying to make a buck.

The first guy – he’s the manager in a business that’s not doing as well as it once was. The owner, who is pretty well off, blames the manager – and he asks for a full accounting of his management. Now the manager has 2 options – he can either work on the accounting or he can accept the inevitable – that he’s out of there . So he goes to a couple of the clients who owe mony to the business and he gives them a discount on their outstanding accounts – one he gives a 20% discount, the other he cuts the account in half. Now he might have been doing this to get some cash into the business, in the hope that these guys would pay their bills – but what he’s really doing is trying to create the option of a job with these clients when his own job comes to an end. Funny thing happens, the owner finds out, and instead of losing his job – the owner compliments him for acting so shrewdly.

The second guy - he's massively well off – living it up – designer clothes, gourmet food, penthouse suite. Slightly annoying though – there’s this guy that basically sits on the pavement outside his apartment begging – now the guy is clearly not well – in the sort of way that makes you want to avoid him – that sort of poverty and illness is actually a little bit frightening. Funny thing happens – they both die at the same time. The rich guy finds himself in Hell and desperate for a drink of water – he looks around for a servant, looks up and sees the begging guy and thinks – he’ll be able to get me some water. But the beggar can’t get to him and he can’t get to the beggar and so he realises he’s pretty much stuffed and so are quite a few of his friends and family if they carry on the way they are.

The third guy – he’s into horticulture – its doing really well – recessions don’t affect the basic ability of the ground to grow things right? Business is thriving for him but his plant is too small to take advantage of the production – so he increases the size of his facilities so he can make larger profits. There’s nothing dodgy about the business – all above board – but he has this awesome opportunity to really make hay while the sun is shining so he can retire early and live the good life. So he tears down the existing plant and builds the new facility, at great cost you’d think – it takes some months but he’s guessing it will be worth the effort. And then he dies.

The first man is the Shrewd Manager from Luke 16. You'd think he'd be the subject of a moral lesson from Jesus about stealing or telling lies. But instead he's used as an example of someone who uses wealth to find friends - Jesus' point is not that we can buy friendship but that people are prone to use their wealth carelessly, rather than using resources in such a way that cultivates friendship with God.

Which brings us to the second man, the Rich Man in the second half of Luke 16. Here is a man who is careless with his attention to the needs of others. He doesn't even notice the beggar sitting at his gate, does nothing to hinder him, but nor does he help him. Even in the afterlife he fails to see the beggar as a person of innate worth - rather he says him as an obvious servant for HIS needs. The beggar needed a friend in his earthly life. The rich man found himself without friends in the afterlife.

Maybe, just maybe the 2 are related :) Friendship with God and friendship with those in need?

The third man is the Rich Fool from Luke 12. He's not careless at all - in fact, he's really careful with his opportunities. After all, it's God who has made the earth fruitful and he's just reaping his Genesis 1/2 opportunity. But his caution becomes an obsession with the good life that displaces any attention he might give to the spiritual side of life and God. Bottom line says Jesus, "You can't take it with you."

So interesting to me that Jesus speaks more on wealth and resources than he does on heaven and hell. Some longer-winded thoughts here. Oh well, back to TradeMe...

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