A Word(le) for Today: Canny


Today’s word is “canny” which was yesterday’s wordle answer.

We are more familiar with the opposite word “uncanny” which describes something mysterious. “Canny” is used in Scotland to describe something nice but in common English it is an adjective more or less equivalent to the word “shrewd”.

In Luke 16:1-15 Jesus tells a parable in which he seems to be commending shrewdness to the point of deception. Actually what He does is put words commending shrewdness into a master who has been deceived by his steward. The master admires and commends the way the steward dealt with his money even though he lost out as a result.

Later (in verses 10-12) Jesus makes it very clear that He does not commend the steward’s behaviour, pointing out that you couldn’t trust such a person and He certainly won’t.

But He does bring out this point about Christians in general: “the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.” (v.8b). In other words there is, in general, something wrong with the way Christians regard and deal with each other when it comes to money. The people of this world use money more shrewdly to gain influence and make friends with each other than Christians do.

The overarching point of this parable is that if you want to be a canny Christian then use any money you have to make friends with those that are able to repay you in the next life (v.9).

Don’t serve money in this life (v.13), use it to make friends with your brothers and sisters in Christ and so build up the body (see also Eph. 2:22).

16 He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’

“Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’

“So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.

“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

Luke 16:1-15


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