Summary: God is looking for Single Minded people
GOD IS LOOKING FOR SINGLE MINDED PEOPLE
This is one of the most difficult parables to understand - because at first blush it looks as if Jesus is condoning sharp practices.
On careful reflection however, I don’t think he is.
The Story is a bit of an enigma
There are some possible explanations for the Crooked Manager’s actions, that Jesus commends.
1. Overlending and reducing to a reasonable debt
A bit like our present banking crisis.
Had the crooked manager been overlending to people and charging too much interest so that the customers had no chance of paying it back?
If so, then what he did made good business sense.
He simply made credible reductions in the bills so that the creditors were more likely to be able to pay off their bills.
2. He took off the Interest
Another explanation was that it may well be that the crooked manager took off the interest that he had been charging.
You see “charging of interest” was something expressly
forbidden for a Jew to do - to another Jew under Old Testament Law.
So to get round it if one borrowed 400 gallons of olive oil one would sign a repayment note for 800 gallons.
So no interest was charged because 800 gallons was "borrowed"!!
3. He took off his cut in the business
Another theory was that the crooked manager who would have been entitled to a cut in the business. So he simply wrote off his own cut
But however you look at it – the Crooked Manager was just that – a scoundrel.
His “generosity” to the creditors would never have happened if he hadn’t been caught cooking the books
He was lining his own pockets.
He was not faithful to his master
So what Jesus is admiring is the shrewdness of crooked manager.
He is not commenting on the morality of the man.
The message of this parable is found in Luke 16:13
No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Or put another way in Mt 6: 19-21
19-20"Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. (The Message)
21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)
The message is simply this
God is looking for single-minded people
The first challenge if we are to be single minded in God’s cause requires us to spend time with God in prayer. We cannot be Christians unless we have a close relationship with God.
That’s what prayer is all about – spending time with God.
How could I expect to keep my marriage going if I did not spend time with my wife?
Yet many Christians expect that we can keep our spiritual lives with God going with one Sunday service a week.
Story: About 10 years ago a survey of American and Canadian pastors of all denominations was carried out and one of the questions asked was how much time do
you spend in prayer a week.
From those honest enough to answer, it appeared that the average time that was being spent in prayer was 15 minutes a week.
If the leaders could only give God 15 minutes in prayer – how much time were their congregations spending in prayer?
If we are to be single minded for God, then we need to do what is closest to God’s heart
Jesus gave the Church only one commission when he said Mt. 28:18 to 20 when he said:
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
The challenge is – am I willing to put myself out to tell others about God?
If we are single minded for God do I use the same wisdom in when I am in church as I do in business or in secular matters?
Story: Andrew Carnegie, the famous steel magnate of the 19th Century had a sister who complained that her sons were always asking for money but never replied to her letters.
So Carnegie bet her £100 that he could get them to reply within a week.
So he sat down and wrote to each of his nephews asking how they were. He ended both letters by saying that he was enclosing £50 for each of them.