Luke 16:1-15

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Luke, New Testament

1 He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.
Steward– a manger, especially of money or property.
The steward was cheating his master.
He was in charge of collecting payments for his master.
The steward had not been faithful with what he was given responsibility of.

The steward was often times given a budget with which to buy household needs.
If he could purchase items at an amount lower than the budget, he was allowed to keep the extra.
His cleverness and carefulness allowed him to make a profit.
No one begrudged the household managers this bonus.
It was understood that their carefulness provided a profit for them.

2 “So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’
At this point, he realizes that his master knows about his lack of responsibility.
He also realizes that he will now be judged unfaithful, and he will lose his job.
He now needs to plan for his future.
He realizes that though he hasn’t been responsible with his master’s goods, he must now make plans for his own future.

3 “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg.
He was too old to work physical labor.
He was too proud to beg.

4 ‘I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’
The steward is dishonest, but he is clever.
Jesus will praise this dishonest steward, but not for honesty.
Jesus praises this dishonest man for being clever.
For realizing that he needs to use what he has to prepare for his future.
He has to take advantage of his place in life, in order to prepare for his future.

Jesus does not praise his dishonesty.
He praises 2 things about him:
1. His foresight.
2. His appropriate action

He understood that when his present position and place in life ended, that he would be dependent upon someone else to provide for him, and to bless him.
That he would look to be rewarded in the future.
His future reward was based upon his present actions.
So he took action.

5 “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
6 “And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’
7 “Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’

The unjust steward suddenly realized that a change was coming for him.
There was an urgency about preparing for it.
v. 6- sit down quickly, and make it fifty.

He never realized that his unfaithfulness would catch up with him.
He didn’t realize his lack of responsibility would ever affect him.
Suddenly, the truth of it all came crashing down around him.
So he took action.

What he did…
In reducing the costs charged for these items, the unjust steward cut out his own profit.
He was willing to forsake a present gain in order to secure a richer future gain.

Losing a little now would provide him friends when he lost his job.
They would better appreciate him, and help him out.
He forsook smaller immediate gratification in order to obtain a greater and larger blessing later.

8 “So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
The master commended the unjust steward.
Why? The unjust steward stole from his master.
Perhaps it was b/c the master was also a shrewd and unethical man.
Perhaps he was rich b/c he had done the same thing to another master at some time.
Perhaps the master recognized a bit of himself in the life of the unjust steward.
He was amused, impressed, with the cleverness, shrewdness, and courage of the unjust steward.
He was impressed that the man was quick on his feet, and could take quick and appropriate action.
Though the steward was a thief, he was a man of convictions and action.
When he realized the truth about his future, he took quick and appropriate action.

For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. NKJ

Jesus makes a generalized statement about unbelievers and believers.
He says that non-Christians are wiser in what they do about the future than Christians are.
Remember, the context is money, and material possessions.
That is proven by verses 9-14.

Spiritually speaking…
Christians are wiser in that they have eternal life, and are secure in that.
Regarding faith in Christ, they are much wiser than the Non-Christian.

In the context of eternal life, whether a person has eternal life or not, the Christian is much wiser.
They believe in heaven and hell, eternal judgement, etc.
So the Christian has accepted Christ as their savior, and their salvation is in place.

But when it comes to money, Jesus says this:
Non-believers are smarter in how they spend their money, according to the future that they look forward to.
The non-believer is more committed to using his money for an expected future.
The Non-Christian is wiser in using his money for what he hopes for.

The Non-Christian may not realize the truth of eternity, and so he misses the truth about the future.
But every non-believer expects some kind of future.
Both in this life, and in the next.
Probably, most unbelievers think only about this life, but they do plan some kind of future.
Jesus is saying that according to their plans and expectations, the people of the world are smarter, wiser, more clever, and more committed than Christians are.

The unbeliever has a different hope than the Christian.
But he uses his money better than the Christian.

The unbeliever has a lower hope, and temporal hope, a distorted and misplaced hope.
But he is more committed than most Christians to using his money to attain what he believes lies ahead.

Jesus says this:
Though the Non-Christian may be wrong about his future, he has more zeal and energy in using his money towards that goal.

Why is this true?
It’s a matter of what a person loves

Many of God’s children are very much more concerned with present gains than they are about future blessings.

The reality of this world, and the love of this world, causes them to lose sight of eternity and have a lukewarm love for God.

13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Why do so many Non-Christians work harder at gaining temporary goals than do Christian at gaining eternal goals?
B/c the Non-Christian loves his Goal more than the Christian loves his God.

Jesus lays down a spiritual principle that can never be changed.
He says that you can’t love two masters.

To love a MASTER, that means you have to be a servant, a slave.
That means wholehearted commitment to your master.

The people of this world have a deep love for the things of the world.
The Christian is called to a different life.
1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.
17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

NOTICE- Jesus doesn’t say the problem is having money or possessions.
The problem is loving money and possessions.

Having money and possessions is not wrong.
Loving them is wrong.
It is a matter of what you love.

A Christian can have both God and money,..
But a Christian cannot love both God and money.
You will either have an unmixed passion for God, or you will have a divided heart towards money and God.
If you love money, your heart will be divided in it’s interest and commitment towards God.

The things you love are the things you will be committed to.
They will be the things where you energy is spent.
Where you time is spent.

Matt 6:19-21 (NIV)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So the problem isn’t what we have.
The problem is the lack of love and commitment that Christian have towards God and His kingdom.

Jesus goes on to tell His followers how to correct this problem.

9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.
Different reading on this verse.
Some say, that when it (money) fails.
Others say, that when you fail.
I prefer the second reading. I.E.: when I die.

they may receive you into an everlasting home.
Those were blessed or saved, and are in heaven as a result of my investing my money into the kingdom of God.

When we invest in the kingdom of God, we do not always see the fruit of it right away.
Some of the results of us investing in the Kingdom of God will never be seen in this life.
Not until we get to heaven will we see who was saved, encouraged, equipped,, by the money we gave to the Lord.

The same is true for our possessions, gifts, talents time, health.
Whatever we make available for the Lord, will be used for His purposes.
We may or may not reward or usefulness of our actions.
But we will someday.
That is for sure.

The application is that money should be used with an eye towards eternity.
The Christian should use money with a view towards the eternal Kingdom of God.

10 “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
This is another principle that Jesus set forth.
This principle speaks of a person’s character.

If a person is faithful with a lesser thing, then the chances are good that he will be faithful with a more important thing.
If a person if unfaithful with a small matter, then it is unwise to trust then with a larger, more important matter.

Today’s thought says that money is the most important.
Jesus says it is the least important.

This is a general truth that all of us can understand, and agree with.
This truth applies to many things.

But Jesus is specifically speaking about money.

11 “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
Jesus speaks of money as being what is least.
That goes against the grain of the Pharisees thoughts.
It goes against the grain of modern thought.

faithful- to be trusted, reliable.

Luke 16:11 (Living) 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?

The things of this world require faithfulness.
Money, jobs, material possessions, real estate.
But they are things that are in and of themselves not righteous.
They have not inherent godly value to them.
Unless they are used for the purposes of God.
Then they become righteous.

12 “And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?
Another man’s-Christians are given stewardship over many things.
All that a Christian has, he has b/c it has been granted to him by God.
Finances- Yes, you earn them, but God has given you the ability and opportunity to earn what you earn. He’s given you wisdom and brain power.
Possessions- The same is true.
Health- We owe our physical being to the Lord.
Many- other things, all things.

The Christian must see himself as being not an owner, but a manger of God’s resources.
Faithfulness in this will bring a blessing that is our own.

If we are not faithful with what we have been given to take care of,
Why would God give us our own?
What does He mean?

Our own speaks of heavenly rewards-

14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.
15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

The Pharisees thought that riches were a sign of blessing from God, and therefore, a sign of great spirituality.
Many have this same idea today.
The Pharisees sought to justify their religious views by alluding to the fact that they were rich.
And in their minds, God wouldn’t bless a sinner.
He would honor a saint with riches.

Jesus tells them what the carnal man highly esteems is an abomination to God.