Summary: This parable gives us three principles for being Shrewd Disciples.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 42
“Parable of the Shrewd Steward”
A middle-aged man is in trouble with his boss. He has helped himself to his employer funds one time too many and now he is facing the music. In fact, he has been told to clean out his desk. He is given a few days to clear up his accounts, but he knows that after that he is finished. The man is humiliated. He knew that at his age in life it would not be easy to find another job – particularly at the pay scale of his old job. He probably could keep going for a while on unemployment benefits, but what about after they ran out? He was facing financial disaster.
Then he hit upon an ingenious plan. He was in charge of collecting debts owed to his employer, he decided that he would call each of them in and offer them a deal. He told them that he would be leaving his present position to search out new opportunities. And in order to keep their good will he was offering them a deal that they just would not be able to refuse. If they paid their bills immediately, they could settle for 60 cents on the dollar. Of course he assured them with his fingers crossed that he had been authorized by his employer to make them this offer, and he hoped they would remember this act of good will when he came to their company to submit his resume. He used his bosses money to by the good will of his possible future employers. This the parable of the shrewd steward in a modern setting.
Now did this man do wrong? This question brings us to problem of this morning’s text. Why did Jesus pick this man to be an example? The most common features of our Lord’s parables is their shock value. They surprise and startle and this parable certainly does that. Lets look together at -
THE PARABLE OF THE SHREWD STEWARD (vv. 1-8b)
”He also said to His disciples: "There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. (2) So he called him and said to him, "What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.”
The main character in this story was a “steward” which means he is an employee; he is responsible for using his master’s business and assets. He of course is to use that which has been entrusted to him to further his master’s interest and not his own. It would seem though that the temptation was too great for him and he begin to divert funds to his own purposes and pleasures. Not surprisingly it is not too long until his master finds out about what he is doing. His master summons him and asked for an inventory of his goods and an audit of his books. In modern terms he was told, “Give me all your records and clean out your desk. Your fired!”
Does it come as a shock to you that you are a steward and as a steward you don’t own anything. You may possess may things but you do not own them. God does!!
In what respects are Christian’s “stewards” ?
Obviously as suggested by today’s text
We are stewards of our material possessions.
We are stewards of our time. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, (16) redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
We are stewards of our gifts and abilities (1 Peter 4:10) “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
We are stewards of the Gospel. (1 Thess. 2:4)
“But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
The man in the parable was in trouble because “he forgotten that stewardship involves not only responsibility and privilege but it also involves accountability….. Christians have a tendency to forget that one day an account will be given to the Lord.” [Warren Wiersbe. Windows on the Parables. (Wheaton,Ill.: Victor Books, 1979) p. 83]
The Apostle Paul warns all believers in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
Facing a future without his position, the soon to be ex-manager contemplates his options. In verse three we are told, "Then the steward said within himself, "What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. (4) I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.”