Luke 16:1-8 (NIV)
1 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 “‘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.’
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.
On verses 1-8: Is Jesus telling this story to encourage us to lie and be dishonest? Not at all. Rather Jesus is highlighting the importance of being shrewd – that is, street smart, wise, strategic, and proactive – when dealing with problems. Often times I find that the reason why an individual, a team, a ministry or an organization is not as effective as they could be is not for a lack of heart, but a lack of wisdom, a lack of what Jesus calls “shrewdness”.
Don’t be someone who, when facing a problem, just sits there and does nothing but complain or panic. Be shrewd. In other words, use your brain. Be resourceful. Be street smart. Think strategically. Plan ahead. Pray for wisdom.
Shrewdness is perhaps the most underestimated quality in Christian leadership. In Christians circles we might even look down on shrewdness as a lack of faith. Yet Jesus himself tells us that we need to be “shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
Luke 16:9 (NIV)
9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends foryourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
On verse 9: In the parable Jesus told above, the shrewd manager used the influence he had while he still had his job to win the favour of his current clients. That way when he was out of a job those clients would welcome him. The lesson here is that we are to use the influence and the resources that we have right now to help people come to know the Lord. That way when our time on earth is over, we will see that our lives had an eternal impact on the lives of other people, and they will be part of our welcoming party when we get to heaven.
Luke 16:10-12 (NIV)
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?
On verses 10-12: Sometimes I’ll hear people say something along these lines: “The things that I am doing right now – my current responsibilities, my current studies, my current job – doesn’t really matter. When I get to the big leagues and I have real responsibilities, that’s when I’ll really focus.” Unfortunately, people who have that kind of attitude toward their current work often never get promoted, for they were not trustworthy with even a little. If you want to be promoted, be faithful in the little things. You might be tempted to think that those little things don’t matter, but they do. God watches the way we handle the little things and takes that into account when considering whether to promote us.
Luke 16:13-14 (NIV)
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.”
14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.
On verses 13-14: In this parable Jesus calls us to use wealth out of love for people. If we are not careful, however, we will use people out of love for wealth.
Lord Jesus, with the time and resources I have remaining, may I shrewd, wise, strategic, and proactive. For Your glory, may I be a trustworthy and effective steward of what You have given me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!