The Unjust Steward

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

There was a rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 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.”

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. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.”

So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, “How much do you owe my master?” And he said, “A hundred measures of oil.” So he said to him, “Take your bill and sit down quickly and write fifty.” 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.”So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly.

This story is Jesus’ parable and can be found only in Luke chapter 16. On verse 8, Jesus said that the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. Why did the master commended the unjust steward? Is Jesus commending dishonesty?

Well firstly, the steward was not commended for stealing. His master commends him for “dealing shrewdly”. The clue word there is shrewdly which means smartly or wisely. Honestly this parable was also a big puzzle for me but when I heard a sermon from Pastor Doug Batchelor I was enlightened.

In his sermon Pastor Doug pointed out the five things that this steward has done which are note-worthy and that we should follow suit. First, he realized that his circumstances are going to change. Second, he reasoned through his future options. Third, he resolved to do something. Fourth, he responded and actually did it. Take note of this: some people resolved and they never do anything. And five, he ends up being received.

So first of all, the steward realized he is in trouble. He was embezzling the money from his master and he will be fired. We should know that there will be a “Judgement Day” and we should keep in mind that we also are stewards. The Bible tells us that we will give an account of that stewardship at some point. 1 Corinthians 4:1,2 “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Pastor Doug mentioned that in the “Judgement Day”, there are two things which we have to give an account of. These are – what we do with the time that God gives us and what we do with the means (God puts certain amount of substance under our control e.g. money, resources, skills, talents). We will give an account to God for what we do with the time and the resources that He gave us.

Now going back to the steward, he realizes that he is being judged. “You’re going to be put out of stewardship”, evidently the master was saying “You need to turn over the books.” The steward still has the books. He is still working for the master. He was just given the warning that his works will be audited. The master was basically saying, “Get the books together, we will be sitting down for an inventory.” The steward is going to be audited. We all are going to be “audited” when the time comes. We are to undergo a “heavenly audit”.

So before he is audited, he has this thought, “Oh, what am I going to do?” He realizes that his present circumstances are not going to last. We are all on the same category. Wherever we find ourselves today, this situation is not lasting. Everything at present is temporary. Jesus is telling us that it is a good thing for us to know that these circumstances are going to change. “The wrath of a king is like the roaring of a lion; Whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life.” , Proverbs 20:2. For us to pass on in the future unprepared, how do we hide ourselves from the wrath to come? The Bible said we are hidden in Christ.

The unjust steward, is not being faithful in the distribution of the master’s treasure. On our daily lives, are we being faithful with our Master’s goods? God gave us skills, talents and abilities. And we have been given a life to use them. But are we using them to reach our God-given potential? One of the things we’ve already been given an account for is our abilities. Are we expanding them? And God also gave us brains. We have minds. What are we filling our minds with? Are we storing good information that can be used for the Master? Or are we squandering the Master’s resources through bad accomplices?

When the steward ends up making these alliances, he gathers all his master’s debtors and he makes friends. He reached out to them. He gets them complacent so that “when he knocks on their doors” they will open and they will receive him because they’re friends. Luke 16:9, “And I say to you make friends for yourselves by the unrighteous mammon (mammon means money) that when you fail they may receive you into an everlasting home.” If sharing the gospel is the heavenly treasure, the unrighteous mammon is the money of the world, the currency. The Bible says, “Money is the root of all evil.” There sure is a lot of money in this world. It is not bad in itself but the love of it. But we can make friends through the unrighteous mammon of the world by storing treasures in heaven as you and I invest saving souls and utilizing the resources of the world in expanding God’s kingdom by doing good and Godly things with this “mammon”. Think of charity and philanthropy. And so when our present circumstances fail we are secured because of our heavenly investment which will be the way for us to be received into an everlasting life. We have stored treasure in God’s kingdom in advance.

Jesus is offering us an eternal life as our insurance and it has an out of this world benefits. We have to think of our future. And that future is already here. The future is “NOW”. We have to plan ahead just like the unjust steward. We need to realize that our present circumstances is not going to last. That this life is temporary. And so we have to always see everything in the light of eternity. We have to use our time and resources wisely and prudently. We have to resolve to do something, make up our minds, decide to change and take action. We have to invite Jesus into our hearts and develop a relationship with Him so we can have confidence that He will receive us into His eternal home.

His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” ~ Matthew 25:23

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