Summary: This sermon makes practical applications from Jesus’ parable about the dishonest manager.
I worked at a guitar store all through high school…for me, it was a dream job.
-In any retail business, you have people come and go.
-I can vividly remember one day when we needed another part time employee, my boss interviewed an 18-year-old guy named Devon.
-He said, “That guy is IMPRESSIVE…I can’t wait for him to start.”
-And Devon talked a great game…he gave a great interview. He talked about all his abilities, about the modeling career he had going on the side. He was the tall, dark, and handsome type. A pretty likeable guy.
-But once we hired him, there was one big problem…you couldn’t get this guy to do anything.
-He would sit there at the front counter all day…he wouldn’t help price things, or help customers, or run the vacuum cleaner.
-If he absolutely had to help someone, he would, but mostly, he just sat there and talked on the phone to his friends.
-Devon’s friends had a similar work ethic to his own. Just down the street, there was a Baskin Robbins. Devon would always come back from lunch carrying these enormous multi-flavored milkshakes.
-Sometimes we’d eat lunch together, and he invited me once to go to baskin robbins with him and I said ‘sure’.
-So I went in and ordered a milkshake of some type. (VERY EXPENSIVE)
-Then Devon grinned at his buddy who grinned back, and he said, “I wanna be a cop today”
-His buddy said, “Then I guess I had better give you the police discount”
-So his buddy made him the biggest, best looking milkshake you can imagine, then charged him a nickel for it.
-The owner wasn’t around, but I’m sure he wouldn’t have approved.
-All of us noticed how Devon would do this sort of thing with his buddies, and I remember when our store manager started saying, “We have got to keep an eye on Devon…I know how that game works. I give you special treatment, then you return the favor when I come to YOUR place.”
-Devon’s career at the music store was very short lived, and I think that’s a good thing.
(OPEN TO LUKE 16)
-In some ways, this is one of my favorite parables. I find it one of the most bizarre that Jesus ever taught…it contains some very difficult teachings.
-It was very common for a rich person to have someone in charge of his possessions.
-Remember Joseph at Potiphar’s house? They had the authority to make business decisions, to spend money, to collect money…to do just about anything. But this had to be someone who the master really trusted.
-If a manager was mishandling the master’s possessions, it would reflect badly, not just on the servant, but on the master himself.
-An astonishing part of this story is that the master doesn’t seek to throw this guy into debtor’s prison or to take all his possessions to repay the debt. He is a merciful man, even to this sneaky weasel of a manager…he just fires him.
-When they fired men in positions like this guy, they didn’t give them any notice…the firing would always be in effect immediately.
So the dishonest manager changes his mentality to survival mode…how can I watch my own back?
-It is hard for us to understand the quantities he’s talking about.
-When he forgave the debt of 400 gallons of olive oil, that was an amount of oil that it would have taken 225 olive trees to produce.
-When he forgave the debt of 200 bushels of wheat, that was about how much you would get off of 20 acres of land.
-If you sum up the total of how much he is forgiving, this basically represents the debt of an entire community.
-How would you like it if you got a message delivered to your door from President Bush which said, “This year, everyone has to pay taxes except for Rose Bud…we decided to give you guys a break.”
-That is the scope of what we’re talking about.
-He’s already been fired, but it says he acted very quickly…before the word got out…he went and forgave an enormous debt.
-Now if someone just saved you thousands of dollars…do you think you might be willing to give that guy a part time job, or a place to stay for a couple of nights?
-This guy was looking out for himself.
Now if you were the master of the house, what would your reaction be?
-If someone just cost you several thousand dollars that you were counting on, wouldn’t you want to ring their neck?
-Of all the verses of the Bible I’ve lost sleep over, Luke 16:9 has troubled me as much as any.
-Jesus says to use unrighteous wealth to make friends, so that when the money fails you, someone will still be glad to see you coming to eternal dwellings.