And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
ESV - 8 The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.
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In my opinion, the children of light to whom Jesus was referring are those who try to conform their conduct to God's standards, which (among other things) would preclude dishonest or unauthorized dealing for personal gain, such as the "shrewd" steward in Jesus's parable did by telling his master's debtors (without the master's permission) to reduce the amounts that they owed to the master, in order to ingratiate himself with the debtors, so that they would hire or otherwise care for him after the master had dismissed him, as the master had warned in Luke 16:2 that he was going to do. Such cunning individuals are frequently more successful from a material standpoint in this life than the children of light, because the children of light are not focused on material gain, and will also not engage in dishonest actions to achieve it. To me, the point that Jesus is making is that those who seek to follow God should be as shrewd and single-minded in their conduct as non-believers (the "sons of this world") are in theirs -- but instead in the use of money and other material resources that God has entrusted to them for purposes that honor God and further His kingdom, rather than for personal gain or welfare.
The children of light are Christians, genuine believers in Jesus Christ. John 12:36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light. Ephesians 5:8-13 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-9 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle John also uses this metaphor of light and darkness to contrast the life of believers with that of unbelievers. See 1 John 1:5-7 and 1 John 2:8-10.
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