I just finished reading this book by my dear friend, Rick Lawrence. In a way that only Rick can, he targets and exposes one of the most unsettling and perplexing parables of Jesus: Luke 16's Parable of the Shrewd Manager.
I caution you, this book is also unsettling and perplexing. It must be taken as a whole. That said, Shrewd did for me what few books nowadays do: it helped me know Jesus better.
Once again, I was astonished by a simple yet profound reality: Jesus is not who I expect him to be. He is altogether unique. This might not sound very profound, but to me it is one of the most incredible truths in life. Jesus is a unique personality. He is not all things to all people. He is one of a kind. And therefore, he can be known personally and as an individual. And Rick does a great job of unpackaging this strange parable in a way that shines a spotlight on the true nature of Jesus, the "Sensei of Shrewd."
I appreciate Rick's bravery and tact as he dances on the knife's edge. As he points out, shrewdness is neutral - it's how one uses this tool that makes it destructive or redemptive. The examples we see of shrewd behavior are so often manipulative, conniving and cruel. The life of Jesus, however, tells a different story. Jesus uses shrewdness like a surgeon uses a scalpel. He cuts you open, for sure, but he cures you, too.
Shrewd surgically cut, exposed, and ultimately helped me gain a new appreciation for how ruthless and relentless Jesus is willing to be in order to rescue hopeless causes like me.
Thank you, Rick, for putting it all on the line again.