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What Can You Learn from the Dishonest Manager?

September 18, 2022

Learn from the Dishonest Manager

What Can You Learn from the Dishonest Manager?

By Brooke Holt

“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. 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.’ 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. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 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.’ 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.  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.” – Luke 16:1-9

One of the great challenges in raising children, especially teenagers, is getting them to think beyond the day and into the future. Parents long for their children to understand that their decisions today can impact the rest of their lives. In this confusing parable, Jesus is guiding his audience to this long-term thinking.

The parable of the dishonest manager has often perplexed me. Why would these underhanded actions of the dishonest manager be commended by his master? It may not be that his actions were commended but that his foresight was commendable. This man knew that he was going to be out of a job, and he knew that he needed to get in the good graces with people. To get into those good graces, he started reducing debts owed to his master. Undoubtedly, he won some friends or at least earned much gratitude! And his master commends him – interesting, isn’t it? Maybe he would have appreciated seeing some of this creative thinking from the manager on behalf of his estate.

I believe that what Jesus is challenging his audience to consider is how they are stewarding their gifts in this world. Were they thinking long-term, eternally, or simply living in the moment or the day? Jesus encourages his people to foresee eternity -- invest today in the eternal home as opposed to the temporal one.

How do you invest for eternity? I love the word stewardship as it conveys the idea that everything you have and everything you are is a gift from the Lord. Are you using those gifts to glorify him and to build his kingdom? Are you investing your money in things that have eternal value like your church, ministries, helping people or are you only investing in yourself, your home, and your kingdom?

The dishonest manager was planning for tomorrow, and Jesus invites you to do the same. This world is not your eternal home. Enjoy the gifts entrusted to you and steward them well so that you can enjoy them in this world and the world to come!

Reflection:

Think about how you steward your money, time, and spiritual gifts. Whose kingdom are you building? We would love to hear  your thoughts in the comments.

Recommended Resource:

The Spirit-Filled Life

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!




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