A Dishonest Manager
1Jesus said to his disciples:
A rich man once had a manager to take care of his business. But he was told that his manager was wasting money. 2So the rich man called him in and said, “What is this I hear about you? Tell me what you have done! You are no longer going to work for me.”
3The manager said to himself, “What shall I do now that my master is going to fire me? I can't dig ditches, and I'm ashamed to beg. 4I know what I'll do, so that people will welcome me into their homes after I've lost my job.”
5Then one by one he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He asked the first one, “How much do you owe my master?”
6“A hundred barrels of olive oil,” the man answered.
So the manager said, “Take your bill and sit down and quickly write ‘50.’ ”
7The manager asked someone else who was in debt to his master, “How much do you owe?”
“A thousand sacks of wheat,” the man replied.
The manager said, “Take your bill and write ‘800.’ ”
8The master praised his dishonest manager for looking out for himself so well. That's how it is! The people of this world look out for themselves better than the people who belong to the light.
9 My disciples, I tell you to use wicked wealth to make friends for yourselves. Then when it is gone, you will be welcomed into an eternal home. 10Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters. 11If you cannot be trusted with this wicked wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12And if you cannot be trusted with what belongs to someone else, who will give you something that will be your own? 13 You cannot be the slave of two masters. You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than to the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Some Sayings of Jesus
(Matthew 11.12,13; 5.31,32; Mark 10.11,12)
14The Pharisees really loved money. So when they heard what Jesus said, they made fun of him. 15But Jesus told them:
You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart. The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned.
16 Until the time of John the Baptist, people had to obey the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets. But since God's kingdom has been preached, everyone is trying hard to get in. 17 Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter of the Law does.
18 It is a terrible sin for a man to divorce his wife and marry another woman. It is also a terrible sin for a man to marry a divorced woman.
Do you know anyone whose life hasn’t started yet? Maybe they justify their atrocious spending habits on the fact they’re young. Or put in a half-hearted attempt at work because they’re underemployed. But they say that once they’re older, married, a parent, have more time, or have landed a “real” job, then they’re really going to get their financial life in order.
In Luke 16, Jesus says two important things about how we manage the things that we have. First, he reminds us to be wise in our dealings, with the story of a lazy manager who shrewdly saves his job by collecting on some bad debts. Then, Jesus says we are to use money to build relationships, and not let it take the place of God in our lives.
Sandwiched between those is the reminder that whether or not we can be trusted with a little shows whether or not we can to be trusted with a lot. Whenever I read that it cuts at the heart of my temptation to think Jesus’ teaching is something I can put off until some later time. We are to be wise today, Jesus says, because how we manage our money today may affect what God will entrust us with in future.
Dear Lord, Thank you for the reminder that money and professional success should not be either my goal or my god. Help me to start making wise decisions with what you’ve given me today, so that one day you might entrust me with even bigger and better things. Amen.