Summary: Pentcost 18(C) - Believers manage God’s gifts wisely not as slaves to greed but in service to the truth.
MANAGE GOD’S GIFTS WISELY (Outline)
October 4, 2009 --
PENTECOST 18 --
INTRO: The Lord God Almighty lovingly lavishes blessing after blessing upon mankind. It is only the believer who recognizes that every good and perfect gift comes from above, from God. The unbeliever does not recognize God’s gifts because he denies God’s existence. Believers realize that God’s gifts are entrusted to them. God’s gifts are to be used or managed wisely. "Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them" (HOSEA 14:9). May our loving Lord direct us today to seek what is right so that do not stumble by own wickedness and rebellion. Jesus teaches:
MANAGE GOD’S GIFTS WISELY:
I. Not as slaves to greed,
II. but in service to truth.
I. MANAGE GOD’S GIFTS WISELY: NOT AS SLAVES TO GREED.
A. Verse 1. The disciples include the large group following Jesus. There is a rich man and a manager.
1. Verse 2. The rich man calls the manager to account for his dishonesty.
2. The rich man wants the accounts to be figured. The manager has come to the end of his job.
B. Verse 3. The manager offers no excuses. He has been dishonest. He recognizes the problem.
1. The manager also realizes he does not want to do any manual labor. Working is not for him.
2. Verse 4. He figures out a solution to his problem. Once again, it is dishonest and selfish.
C. Verses 5,6. The manager reduces the debts owed to his master. Verses 7,8. Both now owe him thanks.
1. Verse 9. The rich man commends the manager!?! Note the manager is still called dishonest.
2. The rich man praises the manager for his shrewdness in watching out for himself, not honesty.
D. The dishonest manager acted shrewdly. This is different than wisely. The manager was shrewd in cheating his master out of money. The manager always took care of his own needs. He cared little about being honest or faithful to his master. The Lord wants us to understand the danger of dealing with the people of this world. Many are always and only looking out for themselves. They care very little or even nothing at all about honesty. "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves" (MATTHEW 10:16). Given the chance the world would devour be-lievers as wolves among sheep. Jesus reminds believers to be ”shrewd as snakes” but remain innocent. Believers are not to go beyond what God desires. Believers are not to be dishonest, unfair, or selfish.
E. Selfishness is only another word for greed. Our society constantly promotes selfish and greed. Our nation is obsessed with having the best things this life can offer. We get caught up in the materialism that is so prevalent in our country. Our nation is blessed beyond all comparison to any other nation in this world. Yet, it seems as if we never have enough time for the things that are most important in life. Our lives seem to be busy, busy, busy. The modern conveniences we have ought to give us plenty of extra time to enjoy life. "In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for he grants sleep to those he loves" (PSALM 127:2). God gives all as gifts. God gives sleep. Do not be a slave to greed.
F. How easy it can become to be caught up in the “American dream” of wealth and glory and power. All too often this is the driving force in the lives of the rich and famous. Sadly, the rich and famous are pointed to as the examples others ought to follow. But their examples only promote greed and selfishness not contentment and selflessness. Ask anyone if he has enough money. Seldom will they say that what they have is enough. There is a greedy need for more. But when is more ever enough? "They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him" (2 PETER 2:19). The world promises much. The world never delivers real satisfaction. Do not become a slave to greed. This can mean greed for money, lust for power, or a sinful desire for glory.
MANAGE GOD’S GIFTS WISELY,
but not as slaves to greed. Let the world be selfish and greedy.
II. MANAGE GOD’S GIFTS WISELY AS SERVANTS TO TRUTH.
A. Jesus teaches this parable as he journeys to Jerusalem for his crucifixion. Jesus is never selfish.
1. Both the rich man and the manager believed that earthly prosperity meant happiness.