Be shrewd



 Are you shrewd?  Have or show  sharp powers of judgment, astute ?  Are you smart or clever in a practical way? Resourceful  in practical  matters?  Are you honest — or dishonest?  The following is based on a sermon delivered 9/16/2016 at Christ Lutheran Church, Aptos.

Some ways  you might be shrewd in practical matters:

Maybe you know how to get that great deal for 20  sewing machines  that  can be bought for half the usual  price.

sewing machines
sewing machines

Maybe you typically  feed a family of six for half  the cost what others do.

rice and beans
rice and beans

Maybe you know the best  hardware store to frequent for buying screwdrivers.

Some make shrewd actions honestly and others do so in a dishonest way.  Right?


 Jesus rewards a dishonest manager —  because he was shrewd.

 Luke 16.1-13 “And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly…

This parable is called   ‘the problem child of all of Jesus’s parables.’


The parable:  There was a rich man who had a manager who was cooking the books. The rich man said to his manager,  I’m going to audit the books and you are going to lose your job.   In response,  the manager went through all the accounts and made special deals.

In those days  Jewish law did not permit charging interest.  However,  people did in fact charge huge, impossible to repay  interest rates. Does that remind you of a few decades ago here in the USA?

  Back to the parable:  in preparation to being fired, the   manager cooked  the books

cooked the books
cooked the books


and then went back to the rich man.

Unexpected result:   Instead of firing the manager  which the manager expected  —  because he had been cooking the books and then setting up things so he’d be taken care of after he was fired — the rich man commends his dishonest manager  because he was shrewd.

What to make of this parable?    Be shrewd as Jesus was shrewd.

shrewd kingdom style
shrewd kingdom style

Groups of people as churches can together  act shrewdly.  For example:   one Aptos, CA church, Christ Lutheran Church    together with other churches recently raised $12,000 from the efforts of 61 participants in  Walk for Clean Water  for one particular community in  El Salvador.  Together they acted shrewdly.  

Christ Lutheran in Aptos, CA  has a many year relationship with this one  community which, through discussion with them  lead to a goal to raise money to be used to  build latrines which will improve their water supply.  

latrines in El Salvador


Many families in this one community in El Salvador  will soon have composed toilets as a result. 



Take away from this parable:

When you invest yourself — your time and money —  you are ‘with it’ and interested in the results.  

Yes,  be shrewd  and apply it to your faith as Jesus did.     

  In this parable, Jesus goes on to say,  “No slave can serve two masters;  for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and  mammon” [conspicuous consumption].  

  Jesus was the ultimate shrewd investor.  Jesus was clever.   And,  Jesus invested his entire  life ….  that you  may have life.


written by Cameron Jackson

The above is based on a  sermon delivered  at Christ Lutheran Church, Aptos, CA  September 18, 2016,   by Rev. Dale Sollom-Brotherton.

Church Office Information:  831 688-5727    email:  

Santa Cruz al Salvador is an International Outreach project with several other area churches.