What would you do – what would you write – if you knew your time was limited?
There is a weird little parable given by Jesus in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Luke in the Bible. It is sometimes called The Dishonest Manager. It basically goes like this. A manager finds out he is about to get fired. So, he calls in everyone that owes his master a debt. He cuts all their debts in half in exchange for them looking out for him once he is fired. The Master finds out about it and praises the manager for his shrewd plan.
In the story, it seems like Jesus is implying that God is impressed by someone that is really good at being dishonest. If you think of God as a bad guy, this probably fits, but let’s assume the Bible is pro God.
The truth is that we are the dishonest managers – all of us. Life is what we manage and one day we will all get fired from it one way or the other. We all procrastinate with management of our lives and resources. When we figure out we are about to get fired whether that realization comes from cancer, old age, or some other reminder, we suddenly get serious about dealing with accumulated life debts – usually the kind that have nothing to do with money.
In the parable from a spiritual standpoint, the manager is commended for using his resources to buy friends after he is fired. This means he finally used what the Master entrusted to him to move people toward a life after employment. The manager wants a place to land and he wants people to be there when he does. If a Christian really believes in God and Heaven, then he or she should be doing everything with every resource to get people there. Jesus was a little disappointed with the human tendency to drift through life until the last moment, but even then he was happy that people finally got it.
Moving that away from the evangelical and looking at myself as a writer, I feel the pressure of time. I have a genetic kidney disease. My father and my brother both died from it long ago. I’m deteriorating physically. My good days are winding down and I’m moving toward days of more limited capacity. I see the Master pulling the pink slips out of the drawer.
When I start cutting debts in half, what are the halves that still matter? If I finally figure out that there will not be time in life to collect in full on everything we think we are owed, what’s the portion that really matters on the bill?
What would I be writing if I knew these were the last pieces I had my full energy to create? Would I be writing safer or would my stories and characters become more bold, dangerous, and brave? What would you be writing right now, if you weren’t afraid, if you weren’t concerned about market trends, if you weren’t blocked, or if weren’t going to wait any longer? What is the piece you have on the shelf that you would take down to finish? What would you tackle, if you weren’t waiting for inspiration to strike? What idea would you stop putting off?
Call together the Master’s debtors and start slashing the bills down to the portion that matters. We are all dishonest managers and we are all about to get fired. Do something that matters.
— Jay Wilburn, writer
Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Mainstreet, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com