“For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.” Luke 16:8b
This line comes at the conclusion of the parable of the Dishonest Steward. Jesus told this parable as a way of highlighting the fact that the “children of the world” are indeed successful in their manipulation of worldly things, whereas the “children of light” are not as shrewd when it comes to worldly things. So what does this tell us?
It certainly does not tell us that we should enter into a worldly life striving to live by worldly standards and working toward worldly goals. In fact, by acknowledging this fact about the worldly, Jesus is presenting us with a strong contrast as to how we should think and act. We are called to be the children of light. Therefore, we should not be surprised at all if we are not as successful in worldly things as others are who are immersed in the secular culture.
This is especially true when we look at the numerous “successes” of those who are fully immersed in the world and the values of the world. Some are successful in obtaining great wealth, power or prestige by being shrewd in things of this age. We see this in pop culture especially. Take, for example, the entertainment industry. There are many who are quite successful and popular in the eyes of the world and we can tend to have a certain envy of them. Compare that to those who are filled with virtue, humility and goodness. We often find that they go unnoticed.
So what should we do? We should use this parable to remind ourselves that all that matters, in the end, is what God thinks. How does God see us and the effort we give in living a holy life? As children of the light, we must work only for that which is eternal, not for that which is worldly and passing. God will provide for our worldly needs if we put our trust in Him. We may not become huge successes in accord with worldly standards, but we will obtain greatness in regard to all that truly matters and all that is eternal.
Reflect, today, upon your priorities in life. Are you focused on building up riches that are eternal? Or do you continually find yourself caught up in the manipulations and shrewdness that has as a goal only worldly success? Strive for that which is eternal and you will be eternally grateful.
Lord, help me to keep my eyes on Heaven. Help me to be one who is wise in the ways of grace, mercy and goodness. When I am tempted to live only for this world, help me to see what is of true value and stay focused on that alone. Jesus, I trust in You.