Well, I did it, I went back and read chapter 15 through 16:18, and peaked ahead at next week. I was inspired to set aside my usual and customary translation (NSRV) and read from The Message, in the hope that different words would yield insight. It helped.
So here is where I am. Beginning with NT Wright’s statement that this “…is not a parable.”Another commentator’s (sorry, I can’t find where I read it.) statement that it is not an allegory. So this is a parallel teaching, Peterson puts it: “I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, …” And that reminded me of John 9 and the story of Jesus healing the blind man, when the disciples ask who sinned causing the man to be born blind. Jesus answers “Wrong question. This man was born blind. Now see what God can do.” Which leads nicely back to Luke 16:10 ff and the whole teaching about how you act with little things reveals how you’ll act with big things, also applies to how / what you see. i.e. If you you God’s hand in little things, you will see God’s hand in big things.
In healing on the sabbath, debunking dinner seating traditions, in upsetting dinner invitations protocols,
in debasing family values, in celebrating the value of the lost and worthless Jesus has stripped away the values base from which moral and ethical decision are made. Here Jesus is pointing to a different set of values from which to make a different set of decisions.
Back in April I went to a photography conference. The sermon that followed challenged folks to intentionally to look at the world differently to see the world differently. A corollary here is challenging ourselves to prioritize our lives differently so that we will live in the world differently.