The parable of the shrewd manager, and this verse in particular, has never settled well with me. The manager used what resources and influence that he had at his disposal at the time to soften his inevitable fall and demise. The manager basically went and made friends by lowering their debts with his master so that after he lost his job he would be in good grace with them. Clever admittedly. But is this the kind of person who I am going to want to hang out with? Probably not. Goes to show we can learn something from everyone.
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“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.” Luke 16:8-9
Jesus is not commending the dishonest manager for his dishonesty, but rather his foresight. In this parable, the master and Jesus could, without condoning his activities, smile at how the fox got himself out of a jam. While it might be easy to find fault with the shrewd manager, none of us are perfect. And since God is all knowing, He knows the mistakes and sins of all of us. But God loves us anyway. He loves us unconditionally. Even when we are dishonest, or clearly in the wrong.
This lesson also speaks to the value of relationships and influence that we have built. Jesus says that if the unrighteous know how to use money to win friends and secure a future, how much more should the righteous do so in all of their wisdom? But those who are righteous should do so by helping those in need and for the advancement of the kingdom of God, in constant view of God’s reward.
Influence in this case is by money, to advance relationships. But we can apply this concept of being shrewd in many areas of our lives. How do we use the gifts that God has given us, our time, our talents, our financial security? Whatever that looks like to each of us, are we being shrewd with our resources and our blessings? How are we leveraging our talents and gifts for the advancement of the kingdom of God? What army are we amassing? Who do we have in our sphere of influence that we might be able to introduce to God? Who can we invite to church, or to a bible study? Who can we just talk to about their beliefs, and help them to come to know Jesus Christ? In all circumstances, let us be good stewards of the gifts that God has given us. Let us be shrew in our dealings and make the best use of what God has entrusted with us.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you so much for your Word this morning. Thank you for my wife who is equally committed to the Word and in following you. Thank you for the different bibles and writings from people who have taken the time to write down the insights that God has given them. Let us all be shrewd managers, for the advancement of the kingdom of God. Heavenly Father, reveal to us the deep meanings of your Word, and help us to continue to draw closer to you. Help us to be faithful in our walk with You. We give all honor and glory to You father God, and we receive these gifts in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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