15th Sunday after Pentecost | September 22, 2019
16 Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. 2 So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’
3 “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. 4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’
5 “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ 6 The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’
7 “‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’
8 “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. 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. 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.
10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
Luke 16:1-13 New Living Translation (NLT)
Over the last couple of weeks we have been looking at several of Jesus parables. This particular parable or story is unique – it looks like Jesus is celebrating deception. Here’s what I want us to focus on this morning. In verse 8 Jesus states, “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd…” He then states the point of the lesson for us as children of the heavenly Father.
“Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.”
I truly believe that God owns everything. However, there are things that He entrusts to us. It’s funny that we call them our possessions, when in reality we are simply stewards of what is already God’s. Those “possessions” are what Jesus calls worldly resources. What is the purpose of our possessions? Their purpose is to benefit others. We aren’t supposed to hoard the resources that God has made us stewards of for our own use. Those resources are for the benefit of others.
Jesus reminds us that if we are faithful in the little things, we will be faithful in the bigger things. Jesus really gets to the crux here. If we can’t be trusted with the resources that He has given us here on this earth – the resources that we can see, how can we be trusted with the heavenly resources that we can’t see – the resources that Jesus calls the true riches of heaven? Jesus takes it one step further and asks if we can’t be faithful with other people’s things, then why should God trust us with stuff of our own?
It seems hard to believe that it has been over 3 years since I worked at Chick-fil-A. The mission statement of the organization is:
To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.
This is really the mission of the children of the heavenly Father – to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. In the book of James we are told, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father” (James 1:17). We are simply stewards of what God has entrusted with us and we are to take what God has entrusted us and use it to benefit others.
As this story finishes Jesus reminds us that God and money (or things) are two different masters and you can’t serve to masters. One or the other will be the master of you. So let me challenge you to be a good steward of what God has entrusted you.