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The Dishonest Manager


    PART VII: THE PARABLES ON WEALTH
 
             CHAPTER 27
 
 

                             Introduction

    The Parable of the Dishonest Manager is  found  only  in
         Luke 16:1-9.  We will also include Luke 16:10-14 for teaching
         purposes.
 
 

The Story
 
                      Jesus told his disciples: "There was
                   a rich man whose manager was  accused  of
                   wasting  his  possessions.   So he called
                   him in and asked him,  `What  is  this  I
                   hear  about you?  Give an account of your
                   management, because you cannot be manager
                   any longer.'

                      "The manager said to himself,  `What
                   shall I do now?  My master is taking away
                   my job.  I'm not strong  enough  to  dig,
                   and  I'm ashamed to beg--I know what I'll
                   do so that, when I  lose  may  job  here,
                   people   will   welcome   me  into  their
                   houses.'

                      "So he called in  each  one  of  his
                   master's  debtors.    He asked the first,
                   `How much do you owe my master?'

                        "`Eight  hundred  gallons  of  olive
                   oil,' he replied.

                        "The manager  told him,  `Take  your
                   bill, sit down quickly, and make it  four
                   hundred.'

                        Then he asked the second,  `And  how
                   much do you owe?'

                      "`A thousand bushels of  wheat,'  he
                   replied.
                        "He told him, `Take  your  bill  and
                   make it eight hundred.'

                      "The master commended the  dishonest
                   manager  because  he  had acted shrewdly.
                   For the people of  this  world  are  more
                   shrewd  in  dealing  with  their own kind
                   than are the people of the light.  I tell
                   you,  use  worldly wealth to gain friends
                   for yourselves, so that when it is  gone,
                   you   will   be   welcomed  into  eternal
                   dwellings.

                      "Whoever  can  be  trusted with very
                   little can also be trusted with much, and
                   whoever  is  dishonest  with  very little
                   will also be dishonest with much.  So  if
                   you have not been trustworthy in handling
                   worldly wealth, who will trust  you  with
                   true  riches?    And if you have not been
                   trustworthy with someone else's property,
                   who will give you property of your own?

                      "No servant can serve  two  masters.
                   Either  he will hate the one and love the
                   other, or he will be devoted to  the  one
                   and  despise the other,  You cannot serve
                   both God and Money."

                      The   Pharisees,   who  loved  money,
                   heard  all  this  and  were  sneering  at
                   Jesus.    He  said  to them, "You are the
                   ones who justify yourselves in  the  eyes
                   of  men, but God knows your hearts.  What
                   is highly valued among men is  detestable
                   in   God's  sight."  (Luke  16:1-14,  New
                   International Version).
 
            The dishonest manager was discovered by his employer and
         was  terminated.  However, he purchased some "insurance" with
         his employer's wealth before he left.  He simply reduced some
         debts  of  his employer's debtors in order to buy some favors
         in his unknown future.  Hebrew letters were used as numerals,
         and since Hebrew letters differ slightly from each  other,  a
         small change with a pen would represent a great difference.
         (Carr, CAMBRIDGE GREEK TESTAMENT FOR  SCHOOLS  AND  COLLEGES,
         LUKE, by F. W. Farrar,   p. 312).

                   The Interpretation
           Jesus  told  this  parable to his disciples in the plain
         hearing  of  the  Pharisees.   The Pharisees were covetous of
         money and had "sold their souls" for money.  Jesus wanted his
         disciples  to  avoid  this  trap.  The sin of covetousness is
         actually idolatry:
 
                        Put  to  death,  therefore, whatever
                   belongs to your  earthly  nature:  sexual
                   immorality,  impurity, lust, evil desires
                   and  greed   [covetousness],   which   is
                   idolatry.        (Colossians   3:5,   New
                   International Version).

          An  idol is someone or something that takes the place of God.
         Idolatry is at once the violation  of  the  first  and  tenth
         commandments:
 
                   [1] "You shall have no other gods  before
                   me."
                   [10] "You shall not covet...."    (Exodus
                   20:3, 17, New International Version).

            In the final analysis, those who love  money  more  than
         God,  love  themselves  more than God--they have become their
         own gods.  Jesus said that  we  cannot  serve  both  God  and
         money.

               In  verse  nine,  Jesus  exposed  the Pharisee's faulty
         logic: (1) Use worldly wealth to buy friends.  Then (2)  when
         it  runs  out  [at  death] (Earle, WESLEYAN BIBLE COMMENTARY,
         Luke, pp. 297 ff.), your dead sinner friends  will  "welcome"
         you to live with them forever.

            Conversely,   Jesus  teaches  his  disciples    to    be
         good  stewards  of worldly wealth and spiritual riches.  They
         will be truly welcomed into heaven by those  whom  they  have
         led to Christ.

            Notice that wealth is not intrinsically evil.  Money  is
         amoral--it  does not have a moral nature.  People make either
         moral or immoral decisions.  The LOVE of money is the root of
         all kinds of evil.
 

                               Central Truth

                         WE MUST LOVE GOD MORE THAN MONEY.  
 
 
                                 Conclusion

            When we received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we chose
         to  love  God more that anyone or anything.  Each day we must
         reaffirm that eternal decision by decisions we make.

            Today, let us consciously  and  deliberately  choose  to
         love God more than money.  .  END