PARABLE OF THE UNJUST STEWARD
TEXT: LUKE 16:1-15
MEMORY VERSE: He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.[Luke 16:10]
A steward is someone who looks after things. Luke 16: 1-3 A steward is one who has been entrusted with handling someone else’s affairs or property. In fulfilling his obligations, the steward of this parable had not been diligent and faithful but had wasted the goods of his master. He had to lose his place as a steward as a result. His concern was how he was going to be able to survive after his master had cast him out. He claimed that he was unable to do the sort of physical work involved in digging, and he was too proud to beg. What would he do, then?
Luke 16: 4-7 The solution of the steward. The steward devised a scheme by which he would make those people feel indebted to him, and then after he lost his stewardship, welcome him into their homes. He went to those who owed debts to his master until his master took over his stewardship from him, and he reduced their debts. He told them that their bills should be cut. His dream was that out of gratitude for this favor, out of a sense of duty to him, these debtors would take him to their homes when his master took him out of their homes.
Luke 16: 8 The reaction of His Lord. For his wisdom, his Lord commanded him. With regard to attaining worldly objectives, he was wise. With this verse, some people have trouble. They think that the Lord listed here is Jesus, and they wonder why Jesus would praise anyone for his dishonest deeds. However, it is not Jesus that is mentioned in this verse. In the parable, the Lord discussed is the Lord of the steward, his master (v. 3, 5). Jesus is our Lord, but the steward’s Lord was not Jesus. The one whose property he controlled, the one for whom he served, was his Lord. His shrewdness was the thing which his Lord commended him for. Someone might cheat you out of something, and because of it, you might burn up with anger; but you might still give him credit for his shrewdness. Perhaps the steward’s Lord was himself a very worldly man so that he could appreciate such wisdom in particular.
The wise manager’s parable is not an easy one to grasp. I will therefore concentrate on the most “digestible” elements of the takeaway: stewardship and goals. The following example will help you understand how important it is to put God first.
Whether monetary or spiritual, God gives us every blessing we have. He wants us to be wise about how we communicate with each other and to give back to Him and to each other by using our gifts. We have the option to refuse and reject, but God doesn’t want our love for Him to interfere with anything.
However, in life, maybe we like it or not, we have to pay for things. And you know, people had to pay for stuff back though Jesus was on earth. In fact, in some of his parables, Jesus spoke about wealth. Once upon a time, Jesus told a story about a wealthy man, accusing his manager of his money being wasted. He called him and told him to send an account of how his money had been treated by him. Sure enough, he took some of the cash for himself and cheated on his boss.
He came up with a scheme that would make a lot of friends, because the boss realise that he was going to be fired. He called some people who owed money to his employer and asked them how much they owed. He told them that when they told them how much they owed, they just had to pay a much smaller sum. People were really happy, as you might imagine, to have to pay just a fraction of what they owed. When he no longer had a job, the manager now had plenty of friends to assist him.
Jesus told this story to prove that Whoever can be trusted with very little can be trusted with much as well, and whoever is dishonest with very little will be dishonest with much as well.” If you and I make sure that we are truthful in the small things, then we can be sure that in the big things, we will be honest. If people know they can trust us with little things, they’ll know they can trust us with big things, too.
That may seem a little weird… but we can learn a few things from it. Jesus did not want people to be too concerned or tied up with finances, for one thing.
He reminded people that all we have is God’s gift and that nothing can ever come between Him and us at all. The money’s fading away. It’s, after all, just paper.
We want to be sure that our things, whether money or other things, is used wisely. This is called stewardship, and it’s sort of like sharing something we are granted or being in charge of it. That means we can often use our money, like giving it to someone who is hurt or hungry or needy, to support each other. Or maybe we should donate money to the church. That helps continue the work of God!
But you know what’s so neat? It is not just about resources that stewardship is. Other stuff God gives us, like our skill or time, we can use! For a party, you should volunteer. You can sing or compose or do special things for God and His people to give back.
When we make sure that we share and handle things, it holds our eyes to the most important thing.
After all, God gives us all to start. We’re just borrowing it, but we want to make sure we’re careful!
Why don’t we take a moment to pray for those gifts and thank God? We should ask for his support in making wise use of them.
Dear Father, help us remember what Jesus taught us about honesty—and help us in any circumstance, to be honest—great or small. We pray on behalf of Jesus. Amen.