“The Unjust Steward”
Luke 16:1, 2
- I definitely would not want to judge the apostles or discredit their integrity.
- But in my mind I look at the parables that are outlined in the four gospels and come to realize that most all the parables that have to do with money are only mentioned by the apostle Luke.
- While Matthew, Mark, and John do not speak on the money parables such as The lost coin (Luke 15:8-10), or The creditor and two debtors (Luke 7:41-43), or A rich fool (Luke 12:16-21), or The unjust steward (Luke 16:1-13), The Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14), or The parable of the pounds.
- Why would the other gospels leave these out? Only God knows.
- This parable today of the “Unjust steward” could be like a “Part II” of the previous parable in Luke 15:11-31 of the “Prodigal son” of whom also wasted his goods (inheritance).
- I believe that God wants us to see here this morning that He gives us treasures in this life and most of the time it is to see what we will do with it.
- If you can’t be trusted with God’s gifts, then why should he give it? All through the bible we can see that God gives things to people and they abuse the gift.
- Satan – anointed cherub, beauty – wanted supremacy over God and His Son.
- Angels in heaven – Given all the splendors of heaven – (1/3 of them followed Satan and were kick out of heaven)
- Adam and Eve – the gift of eternal life – sinned by disobedience (eating from the tree of life when asked not to).
- Abraham – A blessing of being the father of many nations – sinned for lack of patience (did not wait on God to give Him a son through Sarah and slept with his maid and bare a son through her).
- The high priests (Pharisees) – given the children of God – they abused Israel by overloading them with guilt and laws that they could not keep.
- Judas – apostleship, called to be an apostle – sold his Master and Savior for 30 pieces of silver.
- The question to you this morning is… “What has God given to you and you are not using it to honor Him?”
I. A Certain Rich Man and His Steward
A) The rich man’s goods
- Luke 16:1…And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
- Jesus is telling this parable to whom? His “disciples.” Not just the twelve apostles, but rather to the publicans and sinners. Jesus is telling this parable to his followers to cause them to stop and think about the gift of salvation and the other blessings that God has given them and what are they doing with them.
- Who is the rich man? The rich man in this parable is a lord/ owner of something big. This king could be God or Jesus Christ.
- The “steward” is someone who manages another person’s wealth or manages what was given him/her to manage.
- A steward acts or works as an agent or assistant to the master/king.
- A steward is also like an accountant or overseer of all the money, property, food distribution, hiring and firing the help or assistants to the family and so on.
- Note what is written of the steward in verse 1 “…and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.”
- Someone had reported to this lord that the steward “had wasted his (the king’s) ”
- There is always someone who has to act like the devil. The devil is the accuser of the brethren. There are certain people who are always finding fault especially with those who rub them the wrong way.
- The key word in this verse is “accused.” At the moment, there is no proof of the servant’s guilt. He is accused (blamed).
B) This lord requires an account given
- Now look at verse 2) And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
- After this lord heard of the steward’s mismanagement of his goods, the lord sends people to go get the steward and bring him before the king.
- Now the king asks the steward “How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.”
- The lord’s actions here are unwise in that he announces a possibility of firing the steward if he is not be able to provide adequate proof of his good stewardship.
- We will address this unwise action later when we find that it cost the king more.
- Obviously, the king had thought the steward was incompetent with the way he was taking care of his goods rather than being fraudulent. (verified in vrs.8).
- Look at verse 3…Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
- The Old English is a bit hard to grasp sometimes because of the terminology is a little different than today’s mind read it.
- The steward is shocked at the actions of the king. I am sure the steward is humming as he works and thinks all is well and being summoned to stand before the king thing that it must be all okay and then all of a sudden “SMACK” right in his face comes an outrageous accusation.
- Note the words “…I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.” The steward is saying that he is a manager and not a laborer. And to be a laborer would mean a cut in pay or since he was fired it would mean that he would have to beg for money and food.
- The king’s actions would be quite a blow to the steward’s livelihood should he decide to fire him.
C) The cost of the accusation
- Look at verse 4…I am resolved (determined) what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
- The steward decides that what he would do is offer his master’s debtors large discounts on the goods sold to them. You know people, cheaper is always better.
- The steward believes that when he offers these people a discount that they will gladly be his friend and offer him a place to stay for awhile after his being fired.
- Now you can see the cost of the king’s accusation. He would lose profit to his debtors.
- Now look at verse 5…So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? 6) And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
- You see the word “quickly” here in verse 6 meaning that the steward was making a secret transaction here that is not authorized by his master.
- So now the borrower is guilty also in the servant’s fraud.
- The sin of one person always affects others. The ramifications sometimes are enormous.
- The sin of the steward was reducing the oil bill to 50% without his master’s permission.
- Now look at verse 7…Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
- Another man shows up with his debt payment of 100 measures for wheat and the steward tells him that his debt is only for 80 measures of wheat which is a 20% discount.
- In my opinion, I believe that the steward did this to make himself look good as well as to secure any future trade with these men.
II. Commending (praising) the Unjust
A) Understanding error
- Luke 16:8…And the lord (the king) 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.
- The master was truly blind because he could not see his mistake in commending a person who had wronged him.
- In today’s world there is a lot of this going on in the name of “humanity” so to speak.
- Praising wickedness or unjust action means that you are unjust and wicked also.
- I don’t believe that the king praised the steward for his unjust action but rather falsely praised him for being wise in his actions.
- His actions being that he gave a discount to people who were also crafty in their business deals.
- We need to be careful as to not misunderstand this part of the parable where the king announces “…for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”
- To understand it as it is written would be foolish to think that worldly people are smarter than Christians. What the king meant by saying this is that the world is smarter in making business deals as they always seek to get the best deals, and know how to haggle in price and so on. That’s all it means.
III. Unrighteous Mammon (Money)
A) When you fail
- Look now to verse 9) And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
- Jesus is talking here to the crowd gathered to hear His parabolic sermon.
- We see the servant do something wrong here to his lord (master/king) and you can call it a failure. What he did was unjust, not right, a sin, a crime, whatever you want to call it. Saying that, his effort to do something nice to someone else does not make up for the injustice done to his lord.
- God gives us “blessings” all through our life on this earth as a reward for our good behavior and faithfulness to God.
- These “blessings” God gives us could be considered as “goods.” These goods may be a good job, a good church, a good husband or wife, children, cars, house, and any modern conveniences that we have to make life easier for us.
- We are to be good stewards with the blessings that God gives us.
- And when we fail, as you know you will, then, we are to remain honest and repent of our sin and do what it takes to make it right.
- The money that the steward discounted was considered as “unrighteous mammon.” Mammon (money) is something we all have need of and are never satisfied with what we do have leaving us in want of more.
IV. Being Faithful in the “Unrighteous Mammon”
A) Being faithful in the least
- Now look at Luke 16:10…He 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.
- This is a truth that Christ mentions two other times in scripture (Luke 19:17 and Matthew 25:21)
- This is how God works… He will give you little things in life to see if you honor Him with what he has given you. And when you prove yourself to Him then He gives you bigger blessings.
- Sometimes when we get the bigger blessings we go hog wild and have tenancies to abuse or be unjust with what God has given us which leads to God’s judgment for our actions.
- God wants us to be faithful (honest) in all our dealings.
B) Not being faithful
- Verse 11) If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
- Jesus is basically saying here “If you cannot be trusted with what God gives you here on earth, how can you expect Him to trust you with heavenly riches?”
- Jesus justifies the judgment of the unjust in verse 12) And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
- If God cannot trust you with things that belong to Him, how can He trust you with what He may give to you?
- God gives us a job, which in turn gives us money to support our family. If you do not give of your tithes and offerings first that God has given you (from your job)v then God considers you as an unjust steward of His money.
- You may say… “The paycheck from my work belongs to me because I worked for it.” WRONG! God gave you the job, the skill to do the job, the energy to work all day, the car or transportation to get you to your job, the house that you sleep, eat and bath yourself in that prepares you for work. So, in essence, when you become a Christian, your body, soul, spirit and everything else that you get your greedy fingers on belongs to God.
- BUT…God only commands 10% and an offering of what really belongs to Him in the first place.
- You need to figure into the equation that God is giving you grace for all your sins committed against Him and allowing you to be redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ in order for you to go to heaven for eternity. How much is that worth to you?
- 13) No 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 threw this phrase in here “No servant can serve two masters:” aiming it at the Pharisees who believed that devotion to God and mammon were compatible. They believed that earthly riches were a sign of God’s blessings on you (Matt.19:24).
- The Pharisees did not consider themselves to be “servants.”
- As we learned from our message a few weeks ago, all God’s children are servants to God and one another. No one is the boss, dictator, or parent to another. God is our only parent (The Father). Jesus is our ‘Lord and Master.”
- Are you and “unjust steward” of God’s money or things that He has entrusted to your care? Repent today.
- How have you managed what God has given you?
C) Jesus gives 3 warnings in this parable
- Use our opportunities wisely (Luke 16:9) Opportunities to share Jesus to others, Opportunities to Gain friends and be a good influence.
- Be faithful as to how you use the wealth that God has given you (Luke 16, 10, 12). God is the only one who can sanctify money. Money is basically evil.
- That we need to be devoted to God and single minded. (Luke 16:13) You cannot serve two masters.