The Schmoozer

Armodoxy for Today: The Schmoozer
Did you ever think we’d talk about a schmoozer or the art of schmoozing as a daily message? 

The word schmoozing implies disingenuous feelings, a type of insincerity. It’s something politicians do to attract more votes. Interestingly enough, Jesus turned the schmoozer into the hero of one of his parables. Here, Jesus talks about an insincere, unjust and dishonest manager, who is entrusted to be in charge the finances of his boss – he was a steward over his boss’ affairs. As Jesus tells the story, the manager a crooked man who was found guilty of stealing from his employer. We read in the Gospel of Luke (16) that when the steward knew he was to be fired from his position he schmoozed his way into making friends so he would have a place after being fired.

He took his employers assets to do the schmoozing! Interesting. You would think that his boss would be even more upset after these negotiations. But Jesus turns the situation around. “The master,” Jesus says, “commended the dishonest manager because he acted shrewdly…” And the justification? Jesus continues “…for the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than the people of light. I tell you use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves so when it is gone you will be welcomed in eternal dwellings.”

This can be very confusing parable on the surface. In fact, something as disingenuous as schmoozing becomes a norm for this person and he is commended for his behavior. He is applauded for his shrewdness. Jesus is telling us that while we are here in this world we need to use the tools that are given to us. We must find the language of this world to better understand one another and function together – to communicate, so that we can implement and do the work that is necessary. Of course, confusion can arise because it sounds foreign based on our prejudices. That is, we are conditioned to believe that religious individuals do not opt for worldly means. In common terms: this does not sound “religious.” But that is the beauty of what Jesus is teaching us.

Sadly, the religious community of Jesus’ time as well as of today, wrongly places its emphasis on a life to come forgetting that our life here is one of beauty, one that needs to be cared for and one with which we need to interact. Today we know that there are many problems in the world. There are wars, famines, injustice and an absence of peace on every corner of the globe. On a very personal level, we know of disease and illness. Relationships have gone awry. Families are being destroyed by our materialistic desires. Drugs are coming into the lives of our children and wreaking havoc. All these things Jesus tells us are real. Don’t think that you can avoid them. However, he gives us the tools to deal with our real problems.

As you overcome the problems that you have using the tools and talents that God has given you, you begin to see the big picture and your place within it. You have the tools to do anything, even bring about peace.

This life is what God has given you. Do not look out beyond yourself and your life. Do not look at something or some life to come. That will happen. The life to come is in God’s domain. Jesus tells us, not to worry about tomorrow, but deal with the now. Set your mind on God’s Kingdom and all else will come to you. How else do you think Armenians survived all the perils throughout their history? God has given you everything you need to make it and make this the beautiful life that He intends it to be.

Let us pray the prayer of St. Nerses Shnorhali (19): Grantor of mercy, grant that I may come to you with true faith, with good works, and the communion of your Holy Body and Blood. Have mercy upon your creatures, and on me. Amen.

Cover: Schmoozing the Egg fight, 2013 Fr. Vazken

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