Luke 16: 1-15
A college student had the following message on his dorm answering machine:
“Hi! This is Billy. If it’s the phone company, I sent the money. If it’s Mom or Dad, please send money to me. If it’s the financial office, you didn’t loan me enough money. If it’s my girlfriend Julie, leave a message– and don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of money.¨
It’s been said……….. “When a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with the experience ends up with the money and the man with the money ends up with the experience.”
Jesus told 38 major parables during his life on the earth, half regarding possessions. There are more than 2000 verses of scriptures related to material possessions and stewardship.
Luke was a medical doctor who hung up his stethoscope, and left town with Paul. He was the only non-Jewish writer of the NT, and wrote with surgical precision. Luke focuses on medical details, poverty and wealth, and the prominence of women. Luke records 4 hymns: Magnificat of Mary, Gloria in Escelsis of angels, Benedictitis of Zechariah, and the Nunc Dimittis of Simeon. The book is written with stunning accuracy and attention to detail.
Luke told an interesting parable of the Shrewd Manager, or the Unjust Steward. Essentially, money is a neutral object which can be used for evil or for the good of the kingdom.
*Chicago Cubs player Andre Dawson pitched a fit a few years ago when the umpire called a strike on him that he disagreed with. He severely chastised the ump and was fined $1000. He wrote on the bottom of the check in the memo line, “donation for the blind.” Andre used his money for the purpose of retaliation.
Jesus told this story to his disciples as a means to magnify the importance of handling spiritual matters and to underscore our mission of sharing Christ with people who don’t know Him.
- WE GET REALLY RICH WHEN WE DISCOVER THAT DEPOSITS IN THE KINGDOM NEVER LOSE
The story is told here of a wealthy business owner and his manager or trustee.
Jesus told his disciples, “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, “What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.” -Luke 16: 1-2, NIV
Evidently some embezzlement or mismanagement was occurring and the owner became aware of it. The owner first thought the manager was incompetent rather than evil and fired him as a result.
The manager panicked.
-In v. 3, he knew he lost his job, and knew he was not strong enough to perform manual labor.
-He called in some of his accounts, and demanded payment.
-The first one owed 100 measures of oil and 800 gallons of olive oil, and was offered the discounted payoff of 50%. Perhaps the discount was the commission he would have received. The second one owned 100 measures of wheat, or 100 acres worth for which the manager offered a discount of 20%.
This plan of discounting the notes that were due had its intended effect considering the manager was cunning and shrewd. He bought the affections and admiration of these men, and would have his future housing guaranteed as a result. He lured them into the deception, and if he were later to be prosecuted he had others to blame and use as a convenient alibi.
The owner responded with a commendation.
- 8 the owner praised him for his ingenuity and his savvy business sense but this is not to be seen as a compliment for his deceptive practices. Jesus basically said that people without Christ are smarter in the ways of the world than are people who know Christ in the way they deal with spiritual matters. There are lessons here.
People who live in the light of Christ should be savvy in spiritual matters!
In the past you were full of darkness, but now you are full of light in the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light. Light brings every kind of goodness, right living, and truth. Ephesians 5: 8-9, CEV
In Luke 16:9, Jesus hit the nail on the head with this eternal truth.
The rabbis said, “The rich help the poor in this world, but the poor help the rich in the world to come.” Jesus told them to use their funds wisely to lead men to Christ, so that when they arrive in heaven, they will see their investments there as well!
Christian financial writer Austin Pryor offers this advice in these 4 steps:
- Reducing your external obligations and debt will lead to greater freedom.
The rich rules over the poor and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave. Proverbs 22:7
- Save wisely for future needs.
There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it up. Proverbs 21:20
- Invest wisely so that future returns will lead to greater opportunities for ministry.
Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Matthew 25:21
- Invest wisely and broadly.
Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. Ecclesiastes 11:2