Summary: It is obvious that Jesus is not commending this man for being underhanded or dishonest. But the shrewd manager is an example to us in that he saw clearly what the issues were, he cared about the outcome and he did something about it. Tonight I want us to
Wed. Night October 14th 2009
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 is the parable of the shrewd steward in a modern setting.
It is obvious that Jesus is not commending this man for being underhanded or dishonest. But the shrewd manager is an example to us in that he saw clearly what the issues were, he cared about the outcome and he did something about it. Tonight I want us to apply these lessons to our lives.
Read Scriptures: Luke 16:1-15
In the first part of verse eight Jesus gives the conclusion of the parable. The disciples were probably waiting to hear how the crooked steward got what was coming to him. I think they were very surprised by when Jesus said, “ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly….”.
Notice that it is the master not Jesus who commends this man for his shrewdness. The master in this story does not say that he is pleased by his steward’s actions but is impressed. In the second half of verse eight Jesus now applies the principles of found in this parable.
I. We Are Called To Use Opportunities Wisely
Vs. 8c-9 “… For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail they may receive you into an everlasting home.”
The idea that followers of Christ are to be shrewd is a little unsettling. What does it mean to be “shrewd.”
When we think of shrewd individuals we may think of the lawyer who knows all the loopholes and is careful to stay just within the realm of what is legal; not at all concerned about moral principle or true justice. Or we may think of the businessman who knows how to exploit his competitor’s weaknesses or a customer’s ignorance.
Good businessmen, either then or now, see the possibilities and seize the opportunities in the world around them. They are even willing to sacrifice present comforts for the prospects of future rewards on their investments.
William Barclay sums it up pretty well when he said, “If only the Christian was as eager and ingenious in his attempt to attain goodness as the man of the world is in his attempt to attain money and comfort, he would be a much better man.”
Don’t miss the significance of the last part of verse nine, “that when you fail they may receive you into an everlasting home.” What he is referring to here is death not debt.
Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:7, “For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain that we will take nothing out.” Shrewdness about money, will force us to realize that although money can be powerful it is limited, temporary and temporal.
The only wealth that will endure is that which has been invested in others for the sake of Christ and his gospel.
Jesus called us to be fishers of men, and we must take every opportunity and use them wisely and invest in heavenly riches.
II. We Are Called To Use Material Possessions Faithfully.
Vs.10-12 “He who is faithful in what is least, is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least, is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”