March 5, 2022
“The master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted so shrewdly. For the sons of this age are shrewder than the sons of light...’”
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“The master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted so shrewdly. For the sons of this age are shrewder than the sons of light in dealing with their own people. I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of Worldly wealth, so that when it fails, they may welcome you into the eternal home.” Luke 16:8-9
One of the most enigmatic passages in the New Testament is the parable of the dishonest manager. Was Jesus teaching His followers to be dishonest? He was not! People cannot earn favor in Heaven by being dishonest on earth. While verse one (of chapter 16) indicates that Jesus is teaching His “followers,” it is obvious He also had a lesson intended for the Pharisees listening in.
The parable speaks of a WORLDLY master/servant relationship, not a RIGHTEOUS one. The World may praise shrewdness that compensates for losses, but the Lord praises faithfulness. Jesus exposes the connection between the Pharisees’ love of money and their REAL master. (John 8:44) While claiming to speak on behalf of God, the Pharisees’ love of money had shifted their focus to serving Worldly pursuits.
“The Pharisees, who loved money, heard this and were sneering at Jesus. And He told them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight.’” Luke 16:14-15
The greater message for Jesus’ critics is: Do not assume that your Worldly success, gained by dishonest & spiritually adulterous means, will be met with Godly approval.
Jesus uses the same parable to exhort His followers. He points out how Worldly people and institutions are more creative and relentless at working towards their aims than believers often are. That’s not to say that believers should become more Worldly to reach the World with the Gospel. We cannot compete against the World by its rules. The Church will never do “the World” as well as the World does “the World.” Our music, art, film & television are seldom as popular or have competitive appeal. We simply cannot appeal to the flesh to such a worldly extent.
The World cannot do “Church,” as well as God designed the Church to operate. The World promises community-based on “freedom without accountability.” However, if you hang out in a casino bar after midnight, you’ll learn the “Worldly community” falls apart when the money, drugs, and liquor run out. This is not so with Christians. Our community is based on joy, which comes from Jesus’ grace & mercy, and never runs dry!
When Jesus speaks of using “worldly wealth to make friends,” He says we should wisely invest our money in His Kingdom. This is accomplished when you give your tithes and offerings. It’s an excellent investment because when that money is wisely invested, we will have many new believers in God’s Kingdom to welcome us!
With this command, we are compelled to move beyond being mere recipients of the Gospel. We are also “Stewards of the Gospel.” If stewards of the Gospel, then we are also accountable for our wise management of it. If God called for an accounting of your management of His Gospel today, would you show a profit or a loss?