Parable of the Shrewd Manager

Let’s look at Luke 16:1-15. First, we will read through the verses and try to figure out what Jesus meant. Then we will figure out how this applies to us today. 1Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2So he called him in and asked him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.' The manager was wasting his master’s possessions and so was going to be dismissed. The manager is put into a difficult position. He knows that he will not be able to justify himself to his master. He needs to figure out what he’s going to do. 3"The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg— 4I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.' 5"So he called in each one of his master's debtors. He asked the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' 6" 'Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,' he replied. "The manager told him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.' 7"Then he asked the second, 'And how much do you owe?' " 'A thousand bushels of wheat,' he replied. "He told him, 'Take your bill and make it eight hundred.' The manager assesses his situation. He has a short amount of time, but still has some opportunity to ensure his future welfare. If he doesn’t think fast, he’s going to be in a very difficult position after he loses his job. He calls in the people who owe his master and uses his authority to renegotiate their debt in very favorable terms. 8"The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The master commended the manager because he was clever, or shrewd—not because he was dishonest. Jesus said that people in this world are clever when it comes to thinking about their future here and making the most of every opportunity. Smart people are always on the look-out for ways to help themselves. They are going to school or working hard to get a promotion. They are people who are going places. Now, here is the point of the parable. Jesus says that Christians should similarly use their ingenuity to make the most of their available resources and opportunities. Jesus says they should do everything they can here on earth to prepare for their future in heaven. 10"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been

trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own? Jesus explains that God will reward people who are faithful here on earth. God has a purpose for Christians. We are not supposed to waste our time and resources. 2 Timothy 2:4-6 says that a good soldier is one that avoids getting distracted in civilian affairs, but focuses his attention on the commands he’s received. An athlete can only win the prize if he competes according to the rules, and a farmer must work hard to receive his share of the crop. Christians need to faithfully make use of their time and resources. Jesus says Christians need to faithfully handle worldly wealth. Each of these examples apply: the soldier is disciplined, the athlete is energetic and mindful, and the farmer is patient and hard-working.

13"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
Jesus explains why worldly wealth is the test of faithfulness. It is impossible for someone to be wholly committed to God and also wholly committed to money. No servant can serve two masters.

14The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.
The Pharisees sneered at Jesus and dismissed what he said because they loved money and wanted to justify themselves. To sneer is to laugh at with contempt. They criticized what Jesus said and tried to justify their love of money, and to do this they appealed to things that people normally value highly but are worthless in God’s sight. But Jesus wouldn’t let them get away with that. He warned them again that their justifications were not acceptable to God.

Application
What can we learn from this parable? How should we apply this parable to our own lives? I can see two things.

1. We must be aware of the time we have—it is a resource and opportunity.
• This will affect our hobbies. We cannot spend too much time on things that don’t add eternal value. We cannot afford to have too much “free time.” Think of the Amazon.com example. That person did not waste time, but was always looking for opportunities and thinking about the finish line. We need to be disciplined like the good soldier that doesn’t get involved in civilian affairs.

This will affect our career. Our jobs take up the most of our time. We cannot spend too much time and energy on our career for the sake of our career. It is a matter of being Kingdom-minded. For some people, their career is their calling, because God wants to use them to finance God’s kingdom or expand God’s kingdom through business. But for all of us … we need to remember that our true boss is Jesus. We need to ask Him what He wants us to do in terms of our career and trust Him to give us what we need materially. This will affect our education. Young people need to decide now what they are going to do in their lifetime. You have a lot of time to prepare yourself to make a big impact for God’s kingdom. Realize that your school will prepare you for work, but the church can prepare you for spiritual work. ○ I believe that young people can be caregroup leaders. It is good training for a life of ministry. Even though I appreciate parachurch ministries, I don’t believe they do the best job of making sure young people are ready to serve God after they graduate. Ministries like Campus Crusade and YWAM were necessary for a time because the church was not doing its duty on campus. Those groups served as a crutch. God’s intent is to work through the local church. Help build up God’s church, not just while you are in the university, but all throughout your life! ○ Young people can be church planters! You need to use this time to prepare yourself—get trained, develop good spiritual habits. This will affect who we marry. Who we marry is probably the most important decision we’ll ever make, besides becoming a Christian. We need to think about this before you tell your partner, “I want to be a church planter.”

The point is that the time we have is short, just as the time the shrewd manager had was short. Let’s look in 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.

2. Jesus says the key test of our faithfulness is worldly wealth
8"The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own? Our own pastors have learned this lesson already. During the course of their Christian lives, they’ve completely emptied their bank accounts three times for God. We need to be wise in handling worldly wealth. Jesus says most Christians are unwise because they are not thinking of preparing for eternity. More and more, I’m thinking that I don’t want to have lots of money sitting around in my bank account when Jesus returns. I don’t want Him to and say, “Oh, let’s

see what Tyson has been doing with the things I’ve blessed him with. Hm … most of it is still here, sitting around.” I want to put my money in my heavenly bank account by using it here and now for God. Some people may have a big account with Bank of America, but I want to have a big account with the Bank of Heaven! God gives us resources to use. 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Moreover, we need to be wise in what we do with our money. We should not go into debt, because then our hands our tied in terms of what we can do for God’s kingdom. Romans 13:8 says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another …” We should use our money wisely so that we can be free from debt to do God’s work. We should not “finance our wants, and beg God for our needs.” Don’t spend your money on things, and don’t buy into our modern religion of consumerism. Not everything has to be new and improved. We need to learn what it means to be content with what we have, so that we can use the excess to bless others who are in need. 1 Timothy 6:6-8. Read the goat story. Promote the book Revolution in World Missions. It says that we can finance one Indian missionary for something like $30 per month. After you saw the pictures from Myanmar, did you regret giving, or regret not giving more?

Conclusion
Christians need to start acting like they know what’s up. Our time here is short, and we need to make the most of it. Don’t sneer at the ideas that I’ve talked about today, because they’re all clearly supported in the Bible. “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” I want to close by reading two verses: Matthew 16:27 and Revelation 22:12.

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