Intro: Do you have a scripture, or several verses, that are hard to understand?
Read Luke 16:1-8
SPS: How are we to understand these verses?
Background: Book of Luke has passages throughout on money, greed, the poor (Luke 12…beware of covetousness, rich man who built bigger barns, Luke 14….when you have a dinner invite those who can’t repay you…Luke 15 prodigal son)
Luke 16: 14 The Pharisees were lovers of money
:1 There was a certain rich man….
:8 The master commended the servant for being shrewd…meaning wisely, acting prudently, or figuring out a solution -implication is that he also valued this trait, he was not a son of light
What is Jesus’ comment?
Jesus does not commend or praise the steward…He does not advocate this type of shrewdness and self-gain but rather our “shrewdness” is shown in faithfulness and the proper use of money.
The steward resorted to shrewdness because he lacked faithfulness.
He acted to save himself at the expense of others…you get the sense this was how the Pharisees conducted themselves
Praising the steward would be in conflict with so many other sayings of Jesus about wealth
Story is to show the contrast of a bad steward vs. a good steward (Proverbs)
Good steward – based on faithfulness not on man’s skill or shrewdness
Showed that shrewdness is the way that the sons of this world operate...does not indicate spirituality but a secular nature
Pharisees probably liked the start of the story, but not the end.
:9 We too are stewards and we are to be good stewards. We are to be faithful in how we use our resources.
He does not speak against money, but the emphasis is using it for good…using our resources to help others and to serve God. Jesus calls money unrighteous as a further indictment against the Pharisees and their love of it.
By using money for good now, we are storing up treasures in the future
:10 If we are faithful we will serve God’s interests, man’s interests and our own.
:13 Show power of money to enslave - We must choose a master
We will not be viewed as wise or shrewd by the world. The world is not going to copy our “business model” any time soon. We are called to give ourselves over to God and to use our resources for a greater good. He is to be our master, not money. We are to use money in such a way that when the temporariness of this life and money have passed, we will have laid up for ourselves a treasure in heaven for all eternity.
Note: This was a sermonette given in the Lafayette, IN congregation about 2008 or so by Don Turgeon.