Summary: A teaching message on Luke 16:1-10.
Luke Series #72 July 14, 2002
Title: How to Use Money Wisely
Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. This morning we are in Chapter 16 of the Book of Luke in our verse-by-verse teaching series out of that book.
Read Luke 16:1-15
In today’s Scripture passage Jesus talks about money, specifically the wise use of money. In this passage, Jesus shares how Christians need to be smart in using money in a way that will be honored by God, honoring to God, and will be of ultimate benefit to them. Since every one of us does use money, we all need to know how to use it wisely.
Today I will be sharing with you three principles for using money wisely. Before I get to those particular principles, I want to explain and elaborate on this parable, which has often been perplexing to people.
In New Testament times extremely wealthy people would hire managers or stewards to oversee their financial affairs. These managers would keep the books, approve of expenditures, pay employees, and track loans. Today we call such people "financial managers." In this story the manager has been caught "wasting" the owners possessions and so is told that he should get the books in order because he will be fired (vs. 1, 2). The Hebrew word translated as "wasting" is the same Hebrew word used in the story of the Prodigal Son to describe his selfish indulgence when he "squandered his wealth." This lets us know that the manager was not just guilty of making some bad investments, rather he had misappropriated the owners funds to spend it inappropriately on his self. He was in charge of the money but had used it to indulge himself rather than to further his master’s purposes.
The manager realizes that he is a real heap of trouble because he will not be able to get another job managing money, he is too old or to weak for manual labor, and too proud to beg. How are his needs be met in the future? He does not ignore this dilemma but prudently considers his future well-being. In the process he comes up with a plan to secure his future needs. He decides to use this last opportunity as the owner’s legal manager to help other s by reducing the debts they owed to the owner so that they will show him a favor when he is in need. As a result of using the owner’s money to help others he rightfully expects that "people will welcome him into their houses." A phrase Jesus repeats in verse 9 in the application of the parable.
Most parables have something in the story either shocking or unexpected. In the parable of the Good Samaritan it is shocking that a despised Samaritan would be the one to show love to his neighbor. In the story of the Prodigal Son it is unexpected that the father would lovingly welcome home a rebellious and foolish son. This parable also has a conclusion that is unexpected and bewildering. In verse 8, Jesus says that when the master found out what the dishonest manager had done he "commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly." The thing that confuses people is that a crook would be praised, but if you look carefully at the story it is not the manager’s dishonesty that is commended, rather it is his shrewdness, i.e. his prudency and wisdom in planning for his future well-being.
Some people just cannot accept that Jesus would use such an unscrupulous character to teach a spiritual lesson, but keep in mind that Jesus used the story of an unjust judge and an uncaring friend to teach the disciples about the value of persistent prayer in the parable of the "Friend at Midnight" and the parable of the "Persistent Widow."
After telling the parable, Jesus then exhorts his disciples, who are called "people of the Light ", to be just as shrewd or wise in using money for eternal benefits as the "people of the world" are in using money for temporal benefits. This is the main point of the parable. Christians should use the money they have now wisely, in a way that will honor God and benefit themselves. How do Christian use money wisely? Jesus answers that question in verses 9-15.
Read Luke 16:9-15.
In these verses I see three principles for using money wisely.
1. First, to use money wisely we need to recognize that we are managers and not the owners of money.
Jesus emphasizes this point in the parable in which the primary character we’re to learn from is a manager and not the true owner of the money. Jesus reemphasizes this point in verse 12 where he is explicitly states that we are handling "someone else’s property." The true owner of everything is God of course. Many Christian struggle with the principle of us being managers instead of owners of money. They think that the 10 percent of their income they give to the church belongs to God while the other 90 percent is theirs to use as they see fit, provided they did not acquire it dishonestly or use it immorally. Jesus and the Bible tell us differently. The Bible teaches that 100 percent of our material goods, whether money or possessions, belong to God. As such we are not only responsible for how we use the first 10 percent but also for how we use the other 90 percent of the money God allows us to acquire.