Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property.  So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’  Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.  I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’

 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’  He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’  Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’  And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.  And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

  “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.  If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?   No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

POINTERS FOR PRAYER

  1. As often with the parables of Jesus, this one is intended to shock in order to make us think. Jesus is not praising the injustice of the servant, but his purposefulness in preparing for the future. In your experience what difference does it make when you are purposeful and energetic instead of lethargic?
  2. It was his master’s call to account that galvanised the servant into action. What have been the experiences, or people, that have galvanised you into action when you had been somewhat half-hearted in your efforts?
  3. Who have been the people whose energy, drive and astuteness have been an inspiration to you in how to handle difficult situations?
  4. “No servant can be the slave of two masters”. When have you experienced the truth of this statement?

 

The passage concludes with three morals for the listeners. The first exhorts the listener to be prudent about the use of wealth. Like the steward in the parable, those who would follow Jesus must put transitory affairs in proper perspective. Christians should handle the affairs of temporal life with an eye toward eternal life.

The second concerns trustworthiness. Those who can be trusted in small things can also be trusted in great things. If Christians handle money and other passing things responsibly, then they can also be trusted with the affairs of the Kingdom of God.

Finally, Jesus tells his listeners that no one can serve two masters simultaneously. God must be put ahead of money.