I was struck by Luke's positioning the story of the bad steward (Luke 16) just after the story of the bad son (Luke 15). In particular, I was struck by Luke's pains to relate the two men's exact words when they discover they are in the crisis of their lives. Note that in both cases the men are not talking to others but talking to themselves. What we have here is the record of an inner dialogue that moves to a conclusion and plan of action.
The prodigal son:
"But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son . . ." (15:17-19).
The profligate steward:
"And the manager said to himself, 'What shall I do, since the master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses . . ." (16:3-4).
Jesus commends both men, the prodigal son tacitly (15:4-10) and the steward outright (16:8-9).
I believe that what Jesus likes about these men is that they have woken up and taken proper stock of their dire situation. They have applied their brains and logic to the matter of their own rescue from impending destruction, and have made a wise and calculated choice.
We are to love God with all our minds. All day long you and I use our logic for lesser things than this-what to do about the flashing light on the dashboard panel, how to make a budget. God wants us to be as "smart" in the way of salvation as in the way of car maintenance:
"The master commended the dishonest manager. . . . For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light" (16:8).