Holy Spirit, speak to me through the Scriptures today. Use the Word to focus my attention on my Savior and refine my heart as I follow him.
Read LUKE 16:1–18
The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 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.’
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— 4 I 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 “‘Nine hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied.
“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’
7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
“‘A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,’ he replied.
“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’
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. 9 I 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. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
13 “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.”
14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 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.
16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.
18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Remember how God was faithful through times when you’ve faced big decisions. Are there any decisions you or others known to you now face where trust in God’s faithfulness is needed?
Accused of wasting his master’s possessions, the steward faces ruin. Unable to dig and too proud to beg, he takes advantage of the hours left before he has to return the account books that symbolize his office. Summoning his master’s debtors for private conversations, the steward radically reduces each one’s debt, asking the debtor himself to make the amendment in the account book. As the steward had the right to act on behalf of his master, these transactions are binding. None of the debtors know that he is all but dismissed, so he uses his last hours in the job to create a reputation for his master of great generosity. The debts forgiven are huge: a large olive grove’s annual produce or the rent of a farm twenty times larger than an ordinary family farm.1 With the ethic of reciprocity fundamental to the culture, the steward will be treated hospitably everywhere he goes.
It’s hard for the master to fight back. Demanding restitution would make him look foolish when currently he’s loved for being generous. He’s already dismissed the steward and can’t pursue him for theft because he hasn’t stolen anything – he’s simply put money in other people’s pockets. When the steward returns the account books amended by the debtors themselves, the master can only commend him for his shrewd opportunism. Jesus wants us to learn from the steward’s shrewdness, not from his dishonesty. We’re challenged to see wealth as a resource for the kingdom (v 9) and to give it away in the service of God to show that it is not our master (v 13).
The steward shows shrewdness to evaluate a situation and the courage to turn it to his advantage. Are there opportunities around you where a faithful risk might be God’s call?
O God, strengthen me as I follow you. Thank you for your forgiveness when I fall short and fail.
Last Updated on January 6, 2024 by kingstar