Inspired by the Gospel according to Luke 16:1-8.
Prudence. It's not a word we hear very much these days, but there are only four cardinal virtues, and prudence is one of them, so we should probably look into it a little more, yes?
Simply put (albeit not-so-simply lived), prudence is the discernment to know right from wrong, and do the right thing while avoiding the wrong thing. Su-u-uper challenging concept to master sometimes, especially in a relativistic society that prefers to live as though there is no definite right from wrong.
In Luke 16, Jesus tells the story of a Steward losing his position for squandering his Master's resources. So this clever Steward guy comes up with a plan to make sure he has a place to go when he's fired.
If you're just now joining us in reading the Bible, whenever Jesus is telling a story that involves a Master and a Steward, you can pretty much figure that the Master represents God, and the Steward, that's us!
Everything we have actually belongs to God—our time, our energy, our money, all of our resources. In each moment of our lives, we make decisions on how to best used these resources. If we find ourselves at the point where we're are running out of one or more of these resources, we have to consider the possibility that their might be some squandering involved.
For example, maybe we wouldn't be scrambling for time as much if we were more intentional about how we spend it.
Some of us may be completely exhausted because we wasted so much energy worrying, being anxious, or putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves to attain unrealistic goals.
Others of us go further into financial debt over material upgrades that we don't really need.
The irony is that if we are prayerful and intentional about how we use our resources, we find that instead of running out of them, we may actually end-up extra.
The irony of the Steward is that, in the end, his Master commends him for being prudent when it was imprudence that got him fired in the first place. It's almost as if the Master is saying, "Oh, so you do know how to to be resourceful and make good decisions.” Maybe that’s what He’s saying to us when we have to finagle ways to forge more time, money and energy, because we squandered the inherent amount He has already given us.
Thank you for all of the resources at my disposal, especially my time, energy and money. Help me not to be selfish or wasteful with these things. Show me how to be prudent and wise, knowing exactly what the right thing to do is, remembering that all I have, and all I am, are meant to serve Your purposes, not my own ego. Show me areas where I have been squandering Your property. And as I reorganize these resources, may I find that in using them wisely, I actually end up blessed with more, and no longer having to scramble for more.