When Jesus praises the ability of getting the upper hand: Touché!


I recently read the parable of the sly manager who, upon finding out that he was going to get fired, sold off all his master’s investments for a real steal to his soon-to-be ex-clients. He did this because he knew he was too old to start over and work from scratch doing manual labor—and that seriously hooking up his current clients would ensure future favor when he finally exited the stage and needed friends.  The interesting part in this whole story is that the master—the one who gets “punk’d”—congratulates the one who punk’d him. What?! For what?? I had to re-read this and see if I had missed something. It was early and I had to leave for work, so after re-reading but still being confused I decided to come back to it later.

What I found later when I consulted some commentaries was that I was not alone in my bewilderment. That was a relief. But what I also found is that there is a somewhat simple resolution for this perplexing parable. In a nutshell:

The master praises the manager’s cunningness, his ability to take preeminent steps ensuring his own well-being—not the means through which this is done, though. After all, the adjective chosen to describe the manager is “dishonest”. Obviously this behavior is not condoned, but the craftiness is certainly appreciated.

Don't you remember: "be innocent as doves and crafty as serpents" (Matt 10.16; φρονίμως "crafty": same word in both texts)

 So in a sense, the master upon hearing about what his manager had done responds with a surprising “Tushé!

That got me thinking: what other tushé moments do we see in Scripture? Here’s some I thought of. Feel free to give your own in the comments, and if they’re good enough, I’ll incorporate them into the post with a picture and give you credit. ;)

And people who teased Moses about the floating house said, "Touché!"

And the coat-of-many-color-scoffers said on one accord, "Touché!"

And sitting beside his newly withered plant, Jonah muttered, "Touché. Touché."

"Otherside, guys." The disciples murmur, "He's crazy." They cast... "Touché."

After hearing about the curse of wandering for 40 years, you know the 10 spies had to be thinking, "Caleb. Joshua. Touché."

Well... if the 42 boys had lived to say it, you can be sure "Touché!" would've been the first word out of their mouth!

Your turn... Got any?

Here's some JC thought of...

Pharaoh with his dead firstborn.

Jesus tells Sadducees "God don't make covenants with dead people."

When David is told "You're the man" by Nathan who tells a story in which David convicts himself... followed by a silent "Touché".

"I've done it all, Jesus." "Yes, except for giving up what you hold dearest." "Touché."