A Shrewd but Unethical Manager
September 13 - Nº 256 Luke 16:1-15
Jesus held a teaching session with his disciples. Once again, he told them a parable. This one was about a rich man who heard that his financial manager was wasting his money. So, he called him in to discuss what was going on. The boss intended to fire the manager, but first he wanted an account of all his transactions—including a list of everyone who owed money to his estate. Knowing he was about to be fired, the manager thought through his future job options. He had a bad back, so he knew he couldn’t do anything that required manual labor, and he was too proud to stand on the street and beg for money. But he came up with a shrewd idea. He called in each of the people who owed his boss money, and he reduced their debts. When they paid the new amount, he marked their accounts as “paid in full.” This transaction was legal since he was still the manager of the estate. He figured that when he lost his job, these people would be grateful for what he had done. Surely, they would welcome him into their homes. Maybe he could even work for one of them. The financial manager had just placed his boss in a very difficult position. There was nothing more the rich man could do to penalize his employee, since he was already planning to fire him. And if he demanded more money from the debtors, it would make him seem like a bully. Besides, it would be illegal. The landowner had no way to get the rest of his money—but at least he had received some of it. And, come to think of it, by reducing the debts, the devious manager had made the boss seem like a good guy. He now had a reputation for being a charitable man who cared about the needs of the poor. So, instead of being angry with the manager for cheating him out of money, the owner complimented him for being so shrewd. Jesus pointed out that worldly businesspeople are much wiser in managing their wealth than God’s people are in handling the things He has given them. “You should be using the earthly things you have,” he told his disciples, “To make friends who will be with you in heaven. One day all the money you accumulate here on earth will be useless.So, use it now for eternal purposes!” Jesus added, “If God sees that you will make eternal investments with what He has given you, then He will trust you with even more. But if you are dishonest and use the things He provides for your own advantage, He will not trust you with anymore. No servant can serve two masters,” he said. “Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. In the same way you cannot serve both God and Money.” By now, there were a lot of Pharisees listening in. They sneered at what Jesus was saying because they loved to accumulate money for themselves. Jesus looked at them and said, “You are justifying yourselves in men’s eyes, but God knows what is in your hearts! He detests the things you value!”
Are you a wise manager? Are you using the things God has given you for eternal purposes? The Bible teaches us that there are only two things that last for eternity: God’s Word and people! How many friends will you take with you to heaven?