Summary: A view of how we serve God, our employers and ourselves.
The Parable of the Shrewd Steward
By: Rev. Phillip A. Wright
Introduction: This morning we are going to look at the Parable of the Shrewd Steward. The subject matter deals with the topic of being fair to one’s employer and treating people fairly in business matters.
Attention: How would you feel if someone you trusted was correctly accused of wasting your resources? It would make most of us a bit angry. Many today would go to court over such matters. Well let’s see what the Scripture has for us on these topics today.
Let’s read: Luke 16:1-18
Need: Every believer needs to be able to recognize that we are completely accountable to our Lord for the things we think, do and say while alive. The idea of a lazy Christian should be a foreign concept. However, it certainly is not.
Textual Idea: In our passage, Luke points out the steps the Shrewd Steward took after finding out that his actions were discovered to soften the ill effects of his what he did on him personally. The Lord gives us a pretty clear picture of the events so there is no mistake.
Sermon Idea: Scripture tells believers to be shrewd in another passage but that it is not the same as this. That is more being discerning; here the actions of the Steward are costing his master money. That is not what he was hired to do.
Interrogative: So let me ask this morning’s question: What is the level of accountability that a manager should have when acting on behalf of his master or employer.
Transition: Our text this morning suggests several things I want you to see.
1. The Dishonesty & Dismissal of the Steward, vs. 1-2
Explanation: The steward did not perform his duties in the best manner for his master. An accusation of wastefulness was levied against him. The steward was unable to refute the allegation. The steward is fired from his position.
Illustration: Dishonesty is a trait that never works well for the long haul. There was a man who came home drunk and not wanting to fuss with his wife he snuck up the stairs quietly. He looked in the bathroom mirror and bandaged the bumps and bruises he’d received in a fight earlier that night. He then proceeded to climb into bed, smiling at the thought that he’d pulled one over on his wife. When morning came, he opened his eyes and there stood his wife. "You were drunk last night weren’t you!" "No, honey." "Well, if you weren’t, then who put all the band-aids on the bathroom mirror?"
Argumentation: No matter how careful or what you say, sooner or later your sin will find you out. Even though we may wish none of us are immune to that.
Application: When you are entrusted with the responsibility to perform a task you should always do your best as if everyone will see it and judge you and your worth by what you have done. When we think, act and live in a shoddy manner it not only affects you but it also reflects on the church and the Lord you serve.
Transition: So we see that dishonesty is not a good trait for believers.
2. The Dilemma & Determination of the Steward, vs. 3-7
Explanation: Back to our story; before the community became aware of the steward’s situation the he pulled a fast one to keep himself in the good graces of those who conducted business with the master.
Illustration: Once, when a stubborn disputer seemed unconvinced, Lincoln said, "Well, let’s see how many legs has a cow?" "Four, of course," came the reply disgustedly. "That’s right," agreed Lincoln. "Now suppose you call the cow’s tail a leg; how many legs would the cow have?" "Why, five, of course," was the confident reply. "Now, that’s where you’re wrong," said Lincoln. "Calling a cow’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg." Bits & Pieces, July, 1991.
Argumentation: There is almost always a degree of smoke and mirrors in many business transactions. If you don’t believe that go but a cell phone plan and expect to pay $29.99 or $39.99 per month like is says on television. You will be in for a rude awakening. The steward met with each of the master’s business associates and took their bills and reduced them. One he reduced by 50%. Trust me; those people are now on good terms with the steward. That was the desired outcome since the steward was unable to work and unwilling to beg for a living.
Application: The best application for this is that honesty is the best policy. That would be the Christian thing to do. However, there is no mention of these men being believers. Certainly the businessmen who accepted the offer of the steward were anything but Christian. Their actions were out right criminal. They defrauded the master. This should never be our goal in life.