Luke 16: 1 – 15 The parable of the shrewd manager

Luke 16: 1 – 15 The parable of the shrewd manager

Jesus told his disciples: ‘There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So 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 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 – I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.”

‘So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?”

‘ “Three thousand litres of olive oil,” he replied.

‘The manager told him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifteen hundred.”

‘Then he asked the second, “And how much do you owe?”

‘ “Thirty tons of wheat,” he replied.

‘He told him, “Take your bill and make it twenty-four.”

‘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. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

‘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. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.’

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.’

*       *       *

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

That is what the dishonest steward of the parable was doing even before his master had dismissed him. He hated the master who had caught him out in deception and, at least in the short-term, he loved his master’s debtors by discounting a substantial fraction of their debt. In reality, of course, he was a bad servant who was only serving himself. He wanted an easy life and was prepared to swindle people to have it. He loved money. The NIV translation gives Money an upper-case letter; other translations refer to it as Mammon, a diabolical love of money.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

What is my view of money? What are the excuses I use for having money in the bank? Do I view it as security for this life? Why do I have a nice car? To make it easy for me to visit family?

If Jesus challenged me to radical poverty, would I obey? What excuses would I offer?

Do I love Money – or do I love God? This passage is saying very clearly that I cannot do both, because “What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”

The reason why it matters is that we are called to trust God to provide for our needs. If we do not trust him to provide for our earthly needs, how will we trust him to provide for our spiritual needs? If we cling on to money and possessions, we’re placing them ahead of God, making idols of them – and that never ends well.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

Prayer

Heavenly Father

Thank you for promising to provide all I need. Please give me the faith and the imagination to trust your promise, because I find it very difficult.

In Jesus name, Amen

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

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