I would guess that most of us have fantasized about winning a giant sweepstakes and having enormous amounts of money. We are fascinated with money – a fact of which the Bible is fully aware! Many of the names among the world’s billionaires are familiar. (LINK) One name I thought I might see among the top 25 is Donald Trump.
I don’t know what you think about Donald Trump, but I think most of the world admires him. He has an overload of confidence, he seems to be a financial genius, he has an empire that he rules with an iron fist, a successful author, real estate mogul, and television personality. He is rich and ruthless, daring, and he has interesting hair. Do you think Donald Trump has ever told a lie to gain a profit? Do you think Donald Trump has ever unfairly taken from someone who was weaker? Would you say he is a man of trustworthiness and integrity?
Would God trust us with Much, so that we could do much for His Kingdom?
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?’ ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ 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.’ ~Luke 16:1-7
A manager is fired by his rich boss (Trump’s famous line, “You’re Fired!”). The manager seeks to secure his own future by having people be indebted to him. He takes people with enormous debt (perhaps they are wealthy, having this kind of credit) and cuts it. The dishonest servant put all of his energies on saving himself, not concerned at all about the fiscal fallout he left behind.
This parable initially outlines a series of actions that sound more like an episode from “Undercover Diners” — where hidden cameras record the bad behavior of questionable employees for their suspicious employers to view. (Len Sweet)
This unusual story is followed by a surprising reaction:
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. ~Luke 16:8-9
The manager appreciates the shrewd nature of the manager and commends him. He is admired by the world – ruthless, self-serving, manipulative. Not like the children of the light who live within boundaries of trust, compassion for others, and serving well. These friends who have been ‘bought’ and manipulated may open their home to home. The sarcastic “eternal dwellings (habitations KJV, tents GR) ” highlights that these friends are not going to be around forever. (By contrast, the kingdom of God will be.)
What are we to make of this? This parable is not…
*How to work the world’s system for your own wealth!
*It is not about how dishonesty can help you to have a better house by next week!
*It is not about how to lie to your boss and end up keeping your job!
Tell us, Jesus, what this is about!
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. ~Luke 16:10-15
1. God Desires to Trust us With True Riches (10-12). How faithful are you with what you have – that is the answer to how you would handle billions! (Money, Talents & Abilities; Skills). Being faithful in little things is the acid test for character. Little problems, little temptations, little walks off of God’s path – they are all little but they reflect who we truly are. Can God trust us with true riches? What are the true riches … spiritual riches? The promise of an amazingly beautiful heaven … your Bible … the church … the Gospel … prayer.
How are we handling our worldly wealth? Are we honoring God with our wealth – whatever measure we have? *Church *Missions *Compassion
Could it be that the reason we do not have more is that we have not been trustworthy with what we have? Billy Graham said it all: “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.” The shrewd manager is just looking out for himself. God desires to trust you with the true riches – and more.
2. God Desires Our Devotion (13). We cannot serve ourselves, living like the rest of the world, and still claim to love God. Remember the Greatest Commands: Love God, Love Neighbor. When we are using what has been entrusted to us only for ourselves, our own success, our own appeasement, our own happiness – we are loving ourselves. That master will not let us love God as well.
If anyone is commended in this parable it is the shrewd manager – and that because he was solidly devoted to gaining his goals – self preservation. I think God has entrusted us with spiritual blessings so that we can be devoted to Him and serve His purposes on the earth – not our own. The Shrewd Manager cannot be devoted to his master, nor to God, he has only himself.
3. God Desires our Heart to Value His Will Above All (14-15). Jesus teaching for the disciples- your life is directed toward God. Jesus teaching for the Pharisees – your life is directed toward your own will. God knows our hearts. The Pharisees valued highly the ways of the world, the Donald Trump plan for living! The disciples were to embrace a different value system – so are we. The Shrewd manager has a set of values that belong to this world … and they cannot value the same things the disciples valued.
Can God trust you with much at your workplace, so you can do much for him there?
Can God trust you wth much in the marketplace, so you can do much for him there?
Can God trust you with much in your home, so you can do much for him there?
Can God trust you with much in your church, so you can do much for him there?
Are we more devoted to ourselves or to God? God knows our hearts.
You may not consider yourself one of the world’s richest people … not even number 423 … but God can entrust you with the riches far beyond our imagination. What will we do with them?
Thanks for reading,
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