Worship Service on September 18, 2016
Delivered By
Pastor Doug Groen and Sarah McSweeney Accompanist
Delivered On
September 18, 2016 at 10:00 AM
Central Passage
Luke 16:1-13
Readiness for the Kingdom

Luke 16:1-13New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

“‘Nine hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied.

“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’

“Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’

“‘A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,’ he replied.

“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. 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.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Pastor's Summary of Luke 16:1-13

As he continues to travel towrds Jerusalem, Jesus says more about what is required of a disciple. Many in the crowd were poor, oppressed by the rich, so a story about a "rich man" (vv. 1-8a) would be popular. Jesus speaks in their terms, calling money "dishonest wealth" (v. 9) or filthy lucre. (A "manager", v. 1, negotiated and signed contracts on his master's behalf; the master was usually a (hated) absentee landlord.)  Mosaic law forbade charging interest on a loan, but there was a way round this: the debtor in v. 6 had probably received 50 jugs of olive oil but the bill was for 100. The manager settles the account by forgiving the usurious interest, probably to his master's benefit, not his own. Both the "master" (v. 8, the rich man) and the manager are businessmen; the master praises the manager for acting "shrewdly" (the Greek word means pragmatically). Both understand prudent use of financial resources.

From elsewhere in the New Testament and from the Qumran literature, we know that "the children of light" (v. 8) are the spiritually enlightened: business-people are more pragmatic in their sphere than are disciples in affairs of the Kingtdom. Then v. 9: Jesus advises accumulation of heavenly capital by providing for the needy.  If one does this in One;s own small way, God will see one as trustworthy regarding Kingdom affairs (v. 10)-and if one isn't, he won't. Being faithful now involves sharing possessions; one who doesn't now won't be entrusted with "true riches" (v. 11), i.e. the Kingdom. Financial resources are God's gift; they belong "to another" (v. 12), e.i. to him. "Your own" is your inheritance as God's children, i.e. eternal life. So in v. 12 Jesus asks: if you have not managed your finances prudently, will God give you eternal life? Then v. 13: one cannout make a god out of money and serve God.  Disciples must serve God exclusively, using material resources for his purposes, sharing with the needy. The alternative is enslavement to materialism.