Maybe Jesus was having a bad day when he told a story where the hero was a dishonest manager. Maybe he felt discouraged by what he was up against when he said, “Worldly people are more clever than spiritually-minded people when it comes to dealing with others” (Luke 16:8 GW). Spiritually minded people can be easy marks for dishonest, worldly people.
This is our original sin: We put ourselves first. This is the power of the gospel in us: We don’t like that about ourselves. Jesus calls on us to rise above self-interest, and he showed us how to do it. For his sake, we don’t want to act out of self-interest. So, when the dark side wants to manipulate us, it appeals to that desire in us. It twists our logic into a pretzel to convince us that by acting in its interests, we are really rising above self-interest. Follow me?
That’s how disreputable causes get our money. They tell us if we give it to them, we are rising above self-interest. That’s how dishonest politicians get our vote. They tell us if we vote for them, we are rising above self-interest. That’s why we sweet-talk others. That’s how vulnerable souls get into all kinds of trouble. I’m sorry to say this, but children of light can learn something from the world. We need to be as shrewd as the people in it. We shouldn’t be scammers. We just need to wise up.