Summary: Our attitude toward money & how we use it is a barometer of our spiritual state. It reveals whether we are foolishly thinking only of the present or astutely looking to eternity. What is the purpose of money anyway?
LUKE 16: 1-13 [PARABLES IN LUKE]
Some athletes, entertainers and CEOs receive astronomical salaries. They take all they can get and use it for their own personal interests. They seem to set an example for our culture which spends so much to entertain themselves when countless millions in the world are hungry, homeless, and lost.
Our attitude toward money and how we use it is a barometer of our spiritual state (CIT). It reveals whether we are foolishly thinking only of the present or astutely looking to eternity.
What is the purpose of money? Jesus told a disturbing story about a money manager who knew he would soon be fired because he had wasted his employer's funds. So the steward went to the debtors and issued a "paid in full" receipt for a partial payment. This put him in their good graces so that when he lost his job he could go to them for help and not have to beg. Interestingly, this manager appears to win the respect of his master by his shrewd [or dishonest] actions.
The story illustrates the wisdom of spending money with eternity in view. When we invested our life and resources in Christ's cause, it pays eternal dividends. We can use our money now to help spread the gospel, and the people who receive Christ will be our friends forever in heaven.
Luke 16 is devoted to teachings about the proper use of material possessions, a subject of primary concern to Jesus. This parable is directed to the disciples. To understand the parable it is important to separate the parable proper from Jesus’ teaching on it. Jesus instruction begins after the steward was commended of for his prudence. We will briefly look a both parts.
I. THE STEWARD’S ACTIONS, 1-8a.
II. THE ASTUTE ACTION, 8b-9.
III. DEMONSTRATED FAITHFULNESS, 10-12.
IV. THE CHOICE, 13.
In verse 1 the rich man learned that his steward was mismanaging his stewardship. ‘Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.
In Jesus’ day managers were often hired by wealthy people to care for the finances of their estates. Such a manager would be comparable to a modern-day financial planner or trustee who controls the finances of an estate for the purpose of making more money for that estate. The money did not belong to the manager but was his to use for the estate. [Walvoord, John & Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983, S. 246.]
The steward was squandering his boss’s possessions either by spending his master’s money extravagantly or foolishly mismanaging his resources. Both are grounds for termination. [The same Greek verb (diaskorpizôn, meaning “squander”) appears in 15:13 to describe the activities of the lost son.]
In verse 2 the rich man call his steward to give an account of his dealings. “And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’
The rich man viewed his manager’s irresponsibility and fired him. The estate owner then asks the estate manager for his final accounting for all his dealings.
With his past catching up with him the manager realizes in verse 3 that he needs a plan for his future. “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. [ 4] ‘I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’
Realizing his days of employment were numbered, the steward devised a plan where he would cut in the debts of those who owed his employer money. He bought friends and favor for the future when he would be unemployed. [He possibly hoped to make friends who might later hire him.] He uses worldly possessions to help determine how things will go for him after he is dismissed. [The parable in vv. 19–31 serves as an example of this concept.]
Verses 5-7 relay what the steward determines to do about the crisis he has brought on himself and how he proceeds to resolve it.  “And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’  “And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’  “Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’