Saturday, January 28, 2012

renting and ownership

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?"

There are some people who assume that if you own something you will care for it more than a rental. There are some people who assume that if you invest a dollar in a private or public firm that it will be more carefully spent than it would be at a non-profit or a government office because the recipient of the investment knows that dollar does not belong to him or her. The assumption is that mere renters are not as responsible.  The assumption is that borrow money can't be spent as shrewdly. The assumption is that people will only do their best work if they are doing it just to please themselves.

Yet the parable of the wicked steward exists. How could that be possible?  Why is the punchline of Jesus' most challenging parable to say this, "If you have not been trustwory with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?" If the axiom that owners are more responsible than renters why did Jesus tell a parable in which things are reversed and He says that if you can't be trusted with something lent that you aren't responsible enough to own?

1 comment:

Josh T. said...

When I was in floor covering (sales) we would too frequently encounter abused rental property. Most people assumed that things would be different if the tenants were the owners. However, I encountered enough nasty and abused owned homes that I often suggested instead that that the abusive renters would likely treat their own homes in the same manner as their rented homes.