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The parable of the unjust steward. Luke 16:1-15
The parable of the unjust steward
Luke 16:1-15

This morning I am going to talk to you about the subject of money.

-Money is a touchy subject (because we tend to think it's ours-- which leads us to think that we can do what we want with it)

Jesus talks a lot about money in the Gospel of Luke.

a. Luke 12 The parable of the rich Fool which is then followed up by Jesus' call to his disciples to pursue after the kingdom and rely upon God to provide what they need
b. Luke 15 The parable of the lost coin, the parable of the lost son - who demands that his father give him his inheritance before his father is dead.
c. Luke 18 The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.
d. Luke 18 The rich young ruler who Jesus tells to give away all he has and follow him
e. Luke 19 The parable of the Minas and how 3 servants used their masters money while he was away
f. Luke 20 Jesus questioned about paying taxes
g. Luke 21 The widow who put in her offering at the temple and how on a relative basis she gave more than the rich who gave large sums of money
h. Luke 22 Judas betraying Jesus for money

Questions for us to think about as it regards money - and we should personalize these questions

1. How generous am I towards the poor and those in need?
2. Am I faithful with the money God has entrusted to me? Do I put God first by giving a tenth of all that I earn and receive towards the work of the church and Kingdom of God?
3. Am I honest when it comes to paying tax?
4. If I received to much change in paying a purchase, would I take the money back?
5. Do I think about money too much? Does it dominate my thoughts and conversation?
6. If it's doable, am I saving for the future?
7. Am I guilty of wasting the money that God has entrusted to me? Wasting it on Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, items of extravagance, attempts to "keep up" with those around me?
8. Do I think that the money that is in my hand and wallet is mine or God's?

OUR TEXT FOR TODAY-- Luke 16:1-15

It's a parable. Jesus used parables/ stories to illustrate the nature of the Kingdom of God. For Jesus, parables were a teaching tool.

In interpreting parables we are to not get overly caught up in the details of them (for that is not the point of Jesus speaking in parables-- for he often had just one or two punchy lessons to communicate in using them)

READ TEXT

BIG QUESTION PEOPLE ASK OF THIS TEXT: WHY DOES IT FEATURE A DISHONEST MAN WHO IS COMMENDED?

A major sticking point for people as it regards this parable is Jesus' use of a character who is commended for being a weasel. This is a sticking point for us because we know that HONESTY IS REQUIRED OF US AND THAT DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICE IS WRONG.

So why did Jesus feature a man who was dishonest?

In answering the question I'd like to propose to you that it's not just the man who was a skunk. I'd like to propose that the only way this parable makes sense is to see all three parties in the text as being of low moral fibre.

a. It has been suggested in some quarters (and I think I agree) that the master was overcharging the tenants.
b. It's also been suggested that the tenants were immoral as well (for it seems logical that the random ripping up of a contract that they had signed to pen in a significantly lower price in a hurried fashion points to a character defect on their parts)

So, take a greedy landlord, a self serving steward, and tenants eager to "stick it to the man" and that's how you get a master who commends his steward for working out an dishonest deal. And here's a strange irony--- it probably was a win- win- win result. The master probably broke even and he was loved by his tenants-- the steward provided for his future, the tenants got a better deal.


LESSONS OF THE TEXT

1. The wheelings and dealings of the characters of the text is not something as Christians that we should be copying

Jesus clearly says in v.8 that this is what the people of the world are good at.

The Bible tells us that in dealing with others that we are to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16. We need to be careful, we need to cross our t's and dot our i's and do due diligence, but in our dealings we are not to be ones who are trying to "put one over" on another person.

Greed and deception is not to mark us in our interactions with others.

2. When it comes to money-- and everything else-- Honesty, clarity, forthrightness and faithfulness ought to define us as the followers of Christ. v.10

I love verse 10 when Jesus says "One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much"

Little things matter. Being honest and true in small things is very important. If a person can show themselves faithful in small things and when no one else is looking, then they will be able to handle more responsibility.

How honest are you?

When it comes to honesty, if a person will steal a pen/pencil a cookie or take longer breaks than they ought-- do you really think they should be in charge of greater things? Of course not, they are not worthy.

Are you in what you consider a low position? Don't despair. Show yourself faithful, honest, and hardworking. In due time you will be recognized and elevated.

We need to show ourselves honest and trustworthy at whatever station in life we find ourselves at. It's part of holiness. It's part of following Christ.


3. We are accountable to God for how we use the resources and money entrusted to us

In 2 Corinthians 5:10 it says; "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil."

Every last person is going to appear before Christ to give an account of their life-- how we treated others, on whether or not we turned to Christ for salvation, how we used our gifts and talents, and to give an accounting of everything we have said, thought, and done.

As the servant in the parable was held accountable by the master, we are the servants of Christ and we are accountable to Christ.

Since we are accountable, we must prove ourselves faithful and we must busy ourselves doing what Jesus has told us to do-- work and use all we have to advance the Kingdom of God while pursuing after holiness and purity.

2 subpoints as it regards being accountable to God

a. One way of proving ourselves faithful with the money and resources that God has entrusted to us is not to waste it

Spending money on cigarettes, drugs, copious amounts of alcohol, uber expensive cars, suits, and "what not", is a waste of money-- money that often should be used to feed ones family, to assist the poor, to support a missionary or pastor, or to promote the Gospel here and abroad.

b. As it regards Christians and the Day of Judgment/accounting

We have no fear of the judgment. Our salvation and standing with God is not at stake-- for Jesus took the punishment that we deserve for our sins. Romans 8:1 says; "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"

While we have no fear of judgment day, there will be rewards handed out by Christ to those who are faithful. In Matthew 6:19-20 Jesus says; "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."


4. Money has an ultimate purpose: the advancement of God's kingdom v.9

Money is not an end in itself. The goal of our lives is not to be able to get as much money as we can.

Yes, we need money-- to buy groceries, to put a roof over our heads, to pay for school and transportation, to clothe ourselves, to pay for medicine, etc.

-God expects us to be wise with the money that he has entrusted to us (in spending and in saving)
-God expects us to be generous to the poor and needy with the money he has entrusted us -- to the one who is given much, much is expected. Luke 12:48
-When it comes to our money and everything in this life, God is to come first-- this is why the Bible teaches us to tithe (Malachi 4, etc). A tithe is 10 percent-- the first 10 percent of our income. The first tithe given pre-dates the O.T law. Abraham offered it (See Genesis 14). With your tithes and offerings, I get paid, Stephen gets paid, the church is maintained, missionaries are supported, benevolent money is given out, meals are provided for the community, tracts about Jesus are handed out at the subway. We need to be faithful.

One more point about using the money entrusted to us to advance the kingdom-- please leave some in your will to the church or your favorite Christian mission agency. If you want a Bible example of someone doing this consider David. When David died he left all he had for the building of the Temple of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 29.


5. WE CAN'T SERVE GOD AND MONEY v.13

The wrong aspiration in life is "I want to be rich"

Note v.15 "What is highly valued by people is detestable in God's sight"

Money, things, wealth: This is what the world seeks. Problem: It's perishable, you can't take it with you, many people striving after it have damaged and wrecked their faith"

"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:9-10

The right aspiration for life. I want to be holy! I want to be found faithful to Christ! I want to see people around me become followers of Christ!

CONCLUSION: WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE TO JESUS' LESSON?

The Pharisees hated what Jesus said and ridiculed him.

Why? Because they loved money. Money was their god. They used their position to enrich themselves.

How should we respond?

Lord, I don't want my life to be about things and money. I want to be found using what you entrust to me to build and advance your kingdom. Help me to trust you. Help me to be generous. Help me to be faithful and to live for you.