Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Parable of the Shrewd Master - Being Faithful in the Little Things

Today's Reading:
  • Luke 16:1 - 18
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Luke 16:1 - 18
Today's passage contained the Parable of the Shrewd Master.  In this parable, a manager was fired for wasting his employer's money.  The manager then called in all the people who owed his employer money and lowered all their debts.  By doing this he ensured that he would have people to take him in when he lost his home.

Jesus goes on to say that children of the world (i.e., unsaved) are more shrewd in dealing with this world than the children of light (the saved).  He tells us to use our resources to benefit others and to make friends, and that way we will have an "eternal" home when all our earthly resources are gone.

I don't believe that Jesus is telling us to steal from others in order to make friends.  He's just pointing out how a shrewd child of the world would not hesitate in using his position to gain friends and resources.  Jesus is telling us to benefit others and gain friends, but in a generous way.

Jesus then goes on to say that those who are faithful in the small things will be faithful in the large things, and if you are untrustworthy with worldly wealth, then you wouldn't be trusted with the riches of heaven.  He also says that if we are not faithful with other people's things, how could we be faithful with our own things?

That single passage I described above has so many different meanings and implications to me.  First of all, it confirms that Jesus doesn't want us to steal to benefit others, as that would mean we were being unfaithful with the things of others.

The passage also tells me that we need to faithfully (and with a happy heart) manage the responsibilities that the Lord has given us.  For example, there are many people who expect that God has this BIG calling for their lives.  They keep passing up all the smaller opportunities around in search for that BIG one.  But if God cannot trust us to take on a small opportunity, how could we expect him to give us a large opportunity?

Another thing I see in that passage involves the management of our worldly wealth.  Jesus used the phrase (in my NLT translation) "untrustworthy of worldly wealth" (16:11).  So what would constitute being untrustworthy of our worldly wealth?  Well, to me that would mean failing to use our money (ie, our resources - as Jesus covered in the parable) to benefit others.  We need to be givers, we need to help others.  We need to tithe to our local church.  When we are faithful with our money we are given more responsibility to work with.  The more responsibility we are given, the more friends we make who will be with us should we suddenly lose all our own earthly possessions.

Should we lose our earthly possessions? That can be one of people's biggest fears.  And you would have to wonder, if I'm being faithful, why would I lose all my earthly possessions?  Well I can't answer that now, although it could be one of many reasons.  But it does tie in with the very last sentence Jesus speaks of this parable (16:13):
"You cannot serve both God and money."
While we might definitely be hurting if we lost our possessions and lost our money, it would be but temporary.  You can't live with the fear of losing your money (or giving it away to someone in need), because that would not be trusting in the Lord to provide for you should you need it, and then would be serving money.  And the Lord will provide for you, and quite possibility through those glorious friends you made along the way as you helped others out.

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