Luke 16:1–13 (ESV)
The Parable of the Dishonest Manager
16 He also said to the disciples,
“There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no
longer be manager.’ 3 And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from
management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take
your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 The master commended
the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive
you into the eternal dwellings.
10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been
faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.”
This is a difficult parable to understand. I must admit that I don’t
like this parable and there are so many facets that can derail your thinking or at least confuse the message trying to convey. The NIV translation is not as good as the KJV. The above translation is the ESV and is better than the NIV, but not much.
I am simply going to bail on trying to explain all of this parable. The more I try to write about it and explain it, the more I get derailed. So I’m going to pare this down into it’s simple meaning.
A rich man had a dishonest money manager. When his integrity was being brought to question, he knew he was in trouble. He quickly reduced the debts of the debtors and received payments. He was concerned about his future after he loses
his job and wanted to build friends that would serve as future contacts (networking). He is commended for his shrewdness by the Master, although the Master never said to reduce the amounts owed. The manager may have been charging too much interest
and now he was operating within the law and the reduction also relieved some of the burden from the debtors.
Now, somehow, this parable is about using worldly wealth to benefit the will of God.
It is about stewardship... to bring glory to God. Wealth often corrupts people and relations, but you can put it to good use and use it to serve God. Deep down... who is your God?? Is it money, is it possessions, ... or is it God? Jesus
says 13 No servant can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.”
I pray: O
Lord, help me to be a good steward of my money, time, and possessions. It is so easy to let these things take possession of you and we become derailed without even knowing it. Let my God always be you and help me to serve you with whatever I have
and to use it for your benefit. Forgive me in areas that I have failed. Amen.