5/25/14: Modern Parables 3: The Shrewd Manager
This past Sunday we studied what may be our Savior’s most challenging parable — the parable of the Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1-13). After being fired for stealing from his master, the manager seeks to buy the goodwill of his master’s clients by reducing their debts. Instead of punishing him, the master actually commends him for his shrewd dealings. What a surprise twist! What does it teach us? Not to be dishonest with our Master’s resources, but to use them shrewdly to serve others…and in the process to recognize the fleeting value of wealth.
Money is a favorite idol of American Christians. I think of it as “my” money, spending it freely on my interests while rarely considering, “What would the Master want?” I am as guilty as the dishonest manager! Though God promises generous rewards for those who steward his resources faithfully (Matthew 6:1-4), he also promises ruin for those who fail to honor him with their wealth (Haggai 1:3-11).
In the movie, Jasper (the farm manager) not only made friends for himself through his shrewd financial dealings but also made his boss look good in the process. We have the same opportunity. When we invest in our friends — especially fellow members of the family of God — we honor the Father and experience blessing ourselves.
After telling the story of the shrewd manager, Jesus made his ultimate point crystal clear: “No servant can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and money” (Luke 16:13). Who isyour Master? Ask your piggy bank! And make a fresh commitment to trust God who is eager to bless those who rightly manage his resources (Malachi 3:10).
FOR DISCUSSION WITH PARENTS
- What principles guide your giving to the church?
- Can you think of any Christians (in history or the present) who have shrewdly used their resources to serve others and advance God’s Kingdom?
- How does God want you to respond to this parable?