Summary: The story of the shrewd manager presents contrasts in persons, amount, stewardship, and ownership to show the responisiility we have to use God’s gifts in His service.

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INTRO.: Where did the expression "shady deal" come from? Maybe because it is a business deal consummated in the shadows. Maybe because wrong is black and right is white and a shady deal is something between. For whatever reason, we call a questionable business practice "shady." Perhaps it is not clearly illegal but is still something one is ashamed to make public.

These deals are very common in the business world today. Political power and public trust is bought and sold. Lawyers, doctors, landlords, employers, and organizations often tread a very thin line between honesty and fraud.

These conditions existed in Jesus’ day, too. He is aware of dishonesty and fraud in His world and, at least on this occasion, uses such practices to teach a powerful lesson on priorities for the Christian. While He does not justify the deceit, He recognizes it and finds a real life lesson in it.

The message of the story is contained in verses 10-12. I want to call your attention to four contrasts:

I. A contrast in persons. v. 8b

A. People of this world:

1. Businessmen, workers, etc, who are not Christian:

2. Not always honest, but often clever.

3. They serve the world to advance self.

B. People of the light:

1. The sincere Christian. The child of God.

2. Seeks self-betterment, not self-advancement.

3. Serves to advance Kingdom. Cares more for God’s approval than riches.

C. We should be as wise in our way as they are in theirs:

1. We are also preparing for the future.

2. In a sense, we invest our wealth to gain an entrance into Heaven. Mt. 25:34-40

3. Worldlings invest time, money where it brings the greatest return. Christian should also.

II. A contrast in amount: 10

A. Advancement is based on achievement in every aspect of life:

1. We don’t increase a child’s allowance until he proves he can handle what we give him.

2. If one refuses to return $1, we doo’t lend him $50.

3. We can’t pretend we would be faithful in big things if not faithful in little things of life.

B. Apply this to the Christian who thinks he can’t afford to give:

1. Those who are faithful can show it in little as well as much. Luke 21:2, 3.

2. God might give a little to see how we would do with much.

3. If we don’t use what we have to glorify God, we can hardly expect more.

III. A contrast in stewardship: 11

A. Contrast is between spiritual and carnal:

1. Worldly wealth and true riches. True riches are spiritual, eternal. You can’t lose them.

2. Worldly wealth is temporal and deceptive. You can’t keep it

3. The wise man is willing to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

B. Don’t expect heavenly rewards if you do not use what you have on earth in God’s service.

1. If we don’t dedicate the fruit of a few years to God, how can we be faithful through eternity?

2. Learn to take the longer view. II Cor. 4:18

IV. A contrast in ownership. v. 12

A. What we possess now is not our own:

1. We are managers of God’s goods.

2. Anything we give Him is already His. I Chron. 29:14

3. Financiers make money by using others’ money. We gain Heaven by using God’s.

B. If faithful, we will receive riches of our own:

1. Truly ours, they can never be taken away.

2. Nor will they be left to others when we die.

C. True riches are gifts given by God’s grace:

1. A heavenly home that cannot be destroyed by fire or storm or taken from us.

2. Crown of life. Eternal life that can’t be taken away. Worth more than any emperor’s crown.

3. Eternal joy, peace, security, etc.

CONC.: The wise Christian prepares for eternity. It is sad that we prepare for the time we become 65 not even knowing if it will come, but fail to prepare for eternity, which is certain. Jesus does not condone the manager’s dishonesty, but praises him for preparing for the future.

The story shows what is expected of God’s children. Jesus doesn’t imply one can earn or cheat his way into Heaven. He is saying his children should have enough wisdom to use what they are given to the best advantage. Becoming a Christian means assuming responsibility to use time and money for God’s glory. It doesn’t mean we can pay the price for our eternal life. He has already done that.

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