Today you should read: Luke 16:1-18
I love the parables of Jesus. These short stories give us a big-picture view of God’s Kingdom in simple ways. Here’s my shakedown of the Parable of the Dishonest Manager, and how sin often works:
Phase 1: “Have I been caught red-handed?”
Phase 2: “I have a chance to make it right.”
Phase 3: “Nah. I’ll cover my tracks.”
Phase 4: “If I’m going down, I’m taking others down with me.”
A mentor of mine put it this way: “Sin takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you want to pay.” That’s what the dishonest manager shows us, to a T. Here’s how Jesus broke down the parable in verses 8-16 (by they way, it’s really nice when Jesus gives us the commentary):
- The manager represents the world.
- Real integrity is rare.
- God has a better way for you.
- Christians are called to a different ethic.
- Who resides on the throne of your life?
I’d love some interaction with the story today, so here’s a list of questions for us to process together in the comments:
- What point do you think Jesus was trying to get across to his audience (Pharisees & His disciples)?
- Why do you think real integrity is so rare?
- In what ways can you identify with the manager?
- Is there anything in your life that is causing God to hold back on trusting you with more (v.10-12)?
- How have you found verse 13 to be true? (No one can serve two masters.)
- How can you apply this simple parable to your life this week?
By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor
4 thoughts on “February 21, 2018”
8b) And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.
Thanks for the commentary today Todd. The later part of verse 8 grabbed my attention today. I’ve been in the business world since January 1983, so a little over 35 years. I’ve noticed that some men & women seem to have a gift for business and just know how to make money. I’ve also observed that some are very crafty and will do whatever it takes, including unethical and political maneuvering, to accomplish their mission.
The business people I admire most are those who strive to honor the Lord by earning a living in an honest manor and lifting others up in the process. It can be disheartening when you see unethical business people succeeding by the world’s standards but it is important to remember that scripture commands Christ’s followers to live by a different ethic. If Jesus were my boss, and He is, how would my daily business & behavior look?
Colossians 3:23 ESV
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
Man, there’s a lot baked into this little parable! This has always been a confusing passage to me because it doesn’t end quite as expected – the boss is so impressed by the manager’s craftiness that, rather than fire him, he seems to forget about his previous indiscretions and welcomes him back into the fold!
This one really got me thinking… Jesus is preaching to the Pharisees here – “lovers of money” who use money to keep score – and I think he’s telling them a few things here. 1) Money is a dumb way to keep score – perhaps choose something with a more eternal significance. 2) Money is, however, a tool – and a powerful one at that. So while you have it learn to be wise in how you use it. 3) Because, at the end of the day wisdom trumps money (channeling my inner Solomon here) and true wisdom comes from Christ. So when the bottom falls out of the economy (to use modern terms) and money becomes problematic, those friends who formerly respected your financial prowess will be able to see the true source of your wisdom.
Thank you for breaking down these verses for us Todd! It should make us all stop and think about the questions you posted. We tend to always point these parables to the Pharisees. We can see his point that money can be a blessing (to help others) or a curse (self indulge). Jesus is clearly saying that we need to be responsible and generous with all of our resources. He warns us not to mismanage our resources.
Out of the three things that we talk about stewarding, I would have to say that the area where I need the most work is time. If I were to lay out my entire week I don’t believe that my hours clocked in with God would show that He is my top priority. I believe that my time is used more to serve myself and the results of this is fruitless and often feels like treading water. I would love to see what the Lord would do if I would steward more of my time and He would give me more to steward. 32 hours in a day? I am always tired and always busy. I imagine that my time would be more effective and meaningful and less exhausting if I did more in the Lord’s name. I pray that the Lord will occupy my thoughts, indwell my actions and perfume my words that all of my time would be dedicated to Him and even the most trivial of moments would be used for His glory.