Shrewd Manager


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The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

    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 me 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?"

    "Eight hundred gallons of olive oil," he replied.

    The manager told him, "Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred."

    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."

    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.

    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 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. -- Luke 16:1-13

Also known as the parable of the unjust manager, or the unjust steward, this


parable must be read with care. Jesus isn't really extolling the virtues of dishonesty, although it might seem that way at first glance.

The point of the parable is to teach forethought, and that is what was found to be commendable in the dishonest manager. He calculated, arranged, and acted for his future. He had wasted his master's goods, was unable to toil for his own living, and too ashamed to beg. So he resolved, by settling the debts of his master's debtors, to share in their good will, so that he might be received into their homes in his own time of need.

Jesus acknowledges that the children of the world are wiser than the children of light, at least in the dealings of the world. He concludes by saying that the disciples should make friends of the unrighteous so that, if they should fail on earth, they might be received into their homes.

Keep your eyes fixed on eternity

  • As the racer on the goal
  • As the mariner on his port
  • As the traveler on his home
  • As the laborer on the end of the day

Act for eternity

  • Build a good foundation by building on the Lord Jesus Christ alone
    • Pardon
    • Sanctification
    • Eternal life
  • Prepare for eternity
    • Cherish virtues that will flourish in eternity
    • Seek conformity with God's will and likeness
  • Conduct yourself as one whose mind is on eternity
    • Act as a citizen of the kingdom of God
    • Let your destination be known by all who know you

Learn to use the skills and talents that God has given you

  • Consider the attributes of worldly men
    • See how worldly men contrive for earthly gain
      • How much more should you scheme for eternal riches?
    • See how wordly men sacrifice for earthly rewards
      • Consider how much greater will be a reward in heaven?
      • Your self-denial cannot be too great
    • See how wordly men persevere and overcome difficulties
      • Be intent on your own labors, determined, and unwavering
    • See how anxious worldly men are to improve their lot on earth
      • Be at least as wise, availing yourself of all means of doing good
  • Consider the uncertainty of the present
    • Your day of labor may end at any time
    • Your period of probation is limited
  • Consider the character of the future
    • Eternal things are solid, unchanging realities
      • Heaven and its glory is eternal
      • Hell and its suffering is eternal
    • In eternity, there are no reparations to be made
      • No do-overs
      • Time for repentance ended

Prefer eternal good to temporary good

  • Eternal prosperity to earthly prosperity
  • Eternal glory to glory here on earth
  • Eternal pleasures to those of sin

Application of the parable

  • Learn from those who are wise and prudent in eternal things
  • Encourage them, for their reward is nearer every day
  • Urge the worldly to a better choice
    • Higher
    • Better
    • Holier
  • Urge the thoughtless to become wiser

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