The Book of Luke, The Shrewd Steward, Part II - Lesson 184
Luke 16:8-13, 8And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. 9And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. 10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another manís, who shall give you that which is your own? 13No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Jesus Christ in this passage has told us that the children of this world are wiser than the children of light when it comes to the use of money.
We see how shrewd the unjust steward was in taking great care to insure that his future was protected.
Our Lord Jesus Christ exhorts his children to learn from the example of the unjust steward in applying that same care in the use of their God given money as far as their future is concerned.
He urges that his people be as diligent in Godís service as the men of this world are diligent in worldly activities aimed at the security of their futures.
The world lays up its treasures in the stock market, land holdings, IRAs and saving accounts but God also has a heavenly stock market and a heavenly bank in which he desires his children to invest.
Charles Spurgeon in his commentary on the Psalms wrote this comment:
O that men were half as careful in God's service to serve him wisely, as his enemies are to attack his kingdom craftily. Sinners have their wits about them, and yet saints are dull.
And I think is could be said that saints are most dull in their use of Godís money.
Spurgeonís statement is well in line with Christís statement where he says: the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
So because of this deficiency Jesus Christ instructs his children to make proper use of riches so whatever the riches are used for will insure a welcome into eternal dwellings.
In other words the wise person will look at that which God provides as an opportunity to invest in eternal things rather than only an opportunity to invest in temporal things.
The message is that the steward had so managed his financial affairs as to secure future comfort for himself.
Or putting it another way he found friends that would take care of him ďbeyondĒ the time when he was put out of the stewardís office.
In like manner Jesus Christ is saying to his own to use your God given property to secure happiness and comfort beyond the time when you shall be removed from the present life.
Godís people are not to think that money is only for the now and now but are to think of it with eternity in view.
Think of its use for those things which God approves.
Money is the mammon of unrighteousness if you let it.
Money, if allowed to do so, will entangle you in cares and confusion that are dangerous to your soul.
Money will cause your time to be used in useless accomplishments, and will take away any desires you may have for the things of God.
Money, if allowed to do so, will take all our attentions and focus them on the temporal.
Money normally is always a hindrance to godly living.
To many people money is a snare and only brings injury as it causes them to use up all of their time in its use and does not contribute at all to the eternal welfare of their soul.
Paul spoke of this to Timothy in I Timothy 6:9,10, But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Everything may, by a proper use, be made to contribute to our welfare in heaven and this is what the Lord Jesus Christ means here.
The message is clear, we cannot take our money with us and only investing it for things on this earth is not wise.
It is quite amazing to think about the great and detailed care taken by men of the world as to what return they will gain on their investments and compare that to the little care that is taken by children of God as to the investment of their God given money.
What return you will get on the money that you place in Christian works depends much on the Christian work.
God expects his children to invest his money so that He may receive the best return, not waste it on so-called ministries that do not do Godís work.
When you give to the missions program are you convinced that the missionaries that we support are faithful to Godís word and Godís work?
If not put your money into works that God will approve of and will gain friends for you in eternal habitations.
Christians are to be as careful or even more careful of where they put Godís money as wall street investorís are of putting the worldís money.
Our pastor and our churchís mission committee have a great responsibility concerning what works are supported.
Our Pastor is accountable to God for that which he encourages you to invest Godís money in and he can not be lax in this responsibility.
And we as individuals in this church must be convinced that its ministries are faithful and worthwhile works in which to place Godís money.
That is one of a Pastorís important duties, to insure that the money that is invested in the works of this church is faithfully and carefully used in Godís work and not works that promote men.
The Lord then goes on to say in verse 10-12.
10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another manís, who shall give you that which is your own?
By saying this following his discussion of the unjust stewardís use of his masterís money he is inferring that the use of money is that which is least.
To the world money is that which is most but in Godís economy it is only a necessary thing that must be dealt with while in this life.
In spiritual matters money is not the most important, it is not the true riches.
It is simply a means to an end but not the end.
Those of the world think it the end but in Godís mind it is the least.
But itís use is a revealer of faith.
Jesus teaches us that while money is a ďlittle thingĒ it has an important function of serving as a proving ground, testing our ability to handle more important things.
The Lord Jesus Christ says that he that is faithful in the use of Godís money which is little in the scheme of things will be faithful in that which is important.
Scripture supports the idea that if trust in God is prominent in your life then money is not prominent and conversely that if money is prominent in your life then trust in God is not prominent.
When you fully trust in Godís provision why would you take thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
In other words life is more than money!
Matthew 6:19, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, ÖÖ. 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, ÖÖ.. 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
One thing I am learning is that those who have the most faith do not divide their assets into two parts, that which belongs to them and that which belongs to God.
The faithful steward knows that all assets over which he has governance belong to God.
I think the revelation that will take care of this for the child of God is that he or she is in fact a steward, one who looks after Godís affairs.
Once you accept the fact that you are a steward all things will fall into place.
In Godís economy there is no allowance for Godís stewards to be anxious or to worry because Godís word to his children is that He will take care of them.
So an understanding of this plays itself out in a careful use of the masterís money with an assurance that it is used for Godís work.
This is the kind of steward who can be trusted with much for he always has his masterís interests in mind whenever he uses his masterís money.
Therefore the faithful steward, who uses unrighteous mammon to achieve righteous ends, will exchange what is temporary for what is eternal, and what is unrighteous mammon for what is true riches.
That is all money is for, that of exchanging what is temporary for what is eternal, the true riches.
The riches of this world are false, deceitful, and not to be trusted but the treasures of heaven are true and never failing.
Money cannot buy eternal life but it can be used to bring the Good News to those who are lost and dying.
Money cannot buy the fruit of the Spirit but money can be used to spread the Gospel so that men and women can become bearers of the fruit of the Spirit.
The message of Christ is this.
If you are not faithful in the small matters and he defines that here as the use of money, how do you expect God to commit to you the true riches of his Grace which also require faithful stewardship?
Men who are worldly and dishonest, and who do not steward the deceitful mammon as they should, cannot expect to grow in grace.
God does not confer grace upon them, and their being unfaithful
in earthly matters is evidence that they would also be unfaithful in the use of Godís grace in their lives.
12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another manís, who shall give you that which is your own?
This statement shows that Godís children are in training and that we are all stewards for another and that other is God.
The wealth of this world is Godís and he has committed some of it to us to care for and to use it to bring him a profit.
If we are unfaithful in the use of His wealth we cannot expect that he will reward us as good stewards in heaven and give us that which becomes ours to keep.
He uses the phrase that which is your own?
This tells me that if I am faithful with the mastersí accounts then at the appropriate time I will be given that which is permanently mine.
Did not Christ say that those treasures which I lay up in heaven will not be corrupted by moths or rust or be taken by thieves?
This indicates that they are my treasures on a permanent basis.
The message of this parable is that the proper use of Godís money, that kind of money which is temporal and will soon disappear can be exchanged for that which is permanent and will be laid up in my account according to how I used anotherís manís money on this earth.
People who travel the world are concerned about the exchange rate that they will find when they arrive in a foreign country and many will come to them telling them that they have the best exchange rate.
They hem and haw and dicker and finally come to an agreement.
We donít have to dicker with God for God always has the best exchange rate for those of his children who see themselves as stewards of God in the use of all that he has given them to govern.
But for those who waste Godís money on that which does not profit God the exchange rate will appear puny for not much treasure arrived in heaven for God to deal with.
And the reason is that there were two masters in this stewardís life for he had divided his assets by two, that which belonged to God and that which belonged to him.
Jesus addresses this by saying:
13No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Christ says here that a servant cannot serve two masters at the same time.
Trying to do this will divide his affections and obedience and will ultimately result in failure altogether in his duty to one or the other.
One he would love, the other he would hate.
And the one he would love is mammon, for duty to Christ would hinder his interest and affection for mammon.
This is a law of human nature.
A manís affections can be focused on only one object.
So, says Jesus, the servant of God cannot at the same time obey him. and be materialistic, or seek treasures totally on earth.
One interferes with the other, and one or the other will be, and must be, surrendered.
The issue is this. The money is the masterís. That is a given.
The question is that the steward must choose to be either faithful to the master using his masterís money to further his masterís interests.
Or he can choose to serve his masterís money, therefore using his master and his money as a means to his own, self‑serving interests.
Such was exactly what the unjust steward did.
He satisfied his future on the earth but laid not any treasure in heaven.
Yes he was shrewd and clever but He sacrificed the permanent on the altar of the immediate.