He answered, ‘Eight hundred gallons [C Greek: one hundred batoi; a batos was about eight gallons] of olive oil.’ The manager said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and write ·four hundred gallons [Greek: fifty (batoi)].’
Then there is this story he told his disciples: “Once there was a rich man whose agent was reported to him to be mismanaging his property. So he summoned him and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Give me an account of your stewardship—you’re not fit to manage my household any longer.’ At this the agent said to himself, ‘What am I going to do now that my employer is taking away the stewardship from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I can’t sink to begging. Ah, I know what I’ll do so that when I lose my position people will welcome me into their homes!’ So he sent for each one of his master’s debtors. ‘How much do you owe my master?’ he said to the first. ‘A hundred barrels of oil,’ he replied. ‘Here,’ replied the agent, ‘take your bill, sit down, hurry up and write in fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And what’s the size of your debt?’ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. ‘Take your bill,’ said the agent, ‘and write in eight hundred.’ Now the master praised this rascally steward because he had been so careful for his own future. For the children of this world are considerably more shrewd in dealing with their contemporaries than the children of light. Now my advice to you is to use ‘money’, tainted as it is, to make yourselves friends, so that when it comes to an end, they may welcome you into eternal habitations.
“So he invited each one who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ ‘My debt is 850 gallons of olive oil,’ the man replied. ‘Yes, here is the contract you signed,’ the accountant told him. ‘Tear it up and write another one for half that much!’
One debtor owed twenty thousand dollars, so he said to him, ‘Let me see your bill. Pay me now and we’ll settle for twenty percent less.’ The clever manager scratched out the original amount owed and reduced it by twenty percent. And to another who owed two hundred thousand dollars, he said, ‘Pay me now and we’ll reduce your bill by fifty percent.’ And the clever manager scratched out the original amount owed and reduced it by half.
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