Summary: "Financial Advice from a Crooked Manager" is an exposition of the Parable of the Unjust Steward in Luke 16:1-13. Sermon Point: There is no discipleship where there is no stewardship. The sermon teaches three godly principles of financial stewardship: (1)
FINANCIAL ADVICE FROM A CROOKED MANAGER
Some people avoid church because they feel the preacher is just after their money. And some pastors and churches intentionally avoid the subject of money. Their motives may be sincere. But their strategy is misguided. You cannot be a devoted follower of Christ or biblically functioning congregation if you avoid the fundamental subject of financial stewardship. Did you know there are more than 600 references to prayer in the Bible? And there are almost 500 references to faith. But there are over 2,350 references to money. One out of every ten verses in the Gospels is about riches, wealth, or material possessions. In fact, Jesus talked about financial stewardship more than heaven and hell combined. And over half of the recorded parables of Jesus address money matters. No wonder Jesus follows the three parables about SALVATION in Luke 15 with two parables about STEWARDSHIP in Luke 16: the parable of the unjust steward and the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.
The parable of the unjust steward and its application is considered the hardest parable of Jesus and the most difficult passage in Luke’ Gospel. But this complex text makes a simple point: THERE IS NO DISCIPLESHIP WHERE THERE IS NO STEWARDSHIP. Your money management is an objective indicator of your true commitment to Jesus Christ. In fact, your financial stewardship may be the only aspect of your Christian walk that you cannot fake. You can fake prayer, Bible knowledge, worship, holiness, or concern for the lost. But you cannot fake stewardship. Your checkbook will inevitably tell on you. Your life story can be written from your bankbook. It reflects your time, goals, priorities, convictions, and relationships. Whenever government, law enforcement, or business suspect fraud, they determine the facts by following the paper trail to see where the money went. Ultimately, good intentions, personal testimonies, and character witnesses do not matter. What happened to the money is all that matters. In a real sense, this is what Jesus does when he tells his disciples about a crooked CEO who cooked the books in order to maintain his lavish lifestyle after he was fired for embezzling his boss’ money.
In verse 1, Jesus introduces us to a rich man who had manager or steward, which translates the Greek term oikonomos – oikos means “house” and nomos means “law.” It refers to the servant who oversaw the master’s estate. He ruled the house on his master’s behalf. Of course, a steward had to be a man of impeccable character. After all, a steward was entrusted with his master’s receipts and records. He had power-of-attorney over his master’s estate. So verse 1 describes a manager’s worst nightmare. He was charged with wasting his master’s goods. The word charges denotes the malicious intent of the accusations. In other words, whoever told it was trying to get him fired. And the word wasting is the same word used in Luke 15:13 to describe how the prodigal son wasted his inheritance in the far country. So in Luke 16:2, the master confronted the manager, demanded an audit, and terminated his employment.