Should we ever use worldly values in dealing with others?  The Bible passage this week is the story that Jesus told of the shrewd manager.  This is one of the most difficult passages to understand in the whole of the New Testament.  The reason is that all the actors in the story are dishonest.  Moreover, the owner commends the manager for being dishonest!  Perhaps the owner is not meant to be a figure representing God, but this is unlikely when seen in the context of all the other parables of Jesus.  For example, the owner in the parable of the vineyard.  What then is the main purpose of Jesus telling this parable?  I think it is this.  To repeatedly reject all worldly values is not always very efficient and it is often not wise.  Elsewhere in scripture Jesus admonishes us to be “as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves”.  God is sovereign over all things and calls us sometimes to embrace the values of the world in furthering His kingdom.  After all, some of the greatest hymns of the church were theological words put to well-known secular tunes.  Seen in this light, the words of Jesus in the parable of the shrewd manager begin to make sense: “I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends.  In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven.”