Salvation through Christ is the vital and urgent matter that we all must take seriously.
16 Jesus told his disciples: ‘There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 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.”
3 ‘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 – 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.”
5 ‘So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?”
6 ‘“Three thousand litres of olive oil,” he replied.
‘The manager told him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifteen hundred.”
7 ‘Then he asked the second, “And how much do you owe?”
‘“Thirty tons of wheat,” he replied.
‘He told him, “Take your bill and make it twenty-four.”
8 ‘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. 9 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.’
This is a very difficult passage in several ways. The problems can’t all be solved here. Instead, we can focus on what is clear and learn from it a passion to know with certainty that we are saved through our Lord Jesus.
First, the parable in broad terms teaches that the man was about to lose his job and his home because of bad behaviour. Second, he was all too aware that he could not fend for himself. Thirdly, he sets about using the resources available to him to ensure he had somewhere to live when he was removed. Fourth, his master commends his behaviour, which is puzzling, but is probably because the servant acted so audaciously and radically.
Leaving aside some of the questions that will arise, we need to ask what Jesus was communicating with this parable. It is something like this: sinful humanity has behaved badly (sin), and each is waiting to stand before the Lord to give an account that should lead to rejection and an eternity of lostness (judgement). If we think clearly about our situation, we will realise that we cannot care for ourselves. We need help. We need to use all resources available to find the solution. And we need to act with urgency because the time is short. Expressing that more concisely, we need to make use of anything at our disposal to find peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is a typical message from the Bible but why would Jesus present the parable in the terms he does? The answer would appear to be that we tend to live with the worldview of this unfaithful steward and if not, it is certainly the atmosphere in which we interact with the world around us. In other words he is speaking in our language to our thought world.
The message is then that in a world of materialism where everyone appears to be focusing on material gain and material comforts, we need to look beyond these things to our eternal needs. The question in our mind should not be, how can I have a life of affluence and ease? Rather the dominant question must be, how can I have a blessed eternity? Having recognised that, we can ask the next question which is, what changes of attitude do I need to attain it? We are left then with a call from Christ to subordinate everything in our life to the quest to know Jesus Christ and to rest in him for eternal blessing. The Apostle Paul expressed this idea in Philippians 3 where he writes of losing everything for the sake of Christ and considering everything rubbish, “in order that I might gain Christ.”
Head: Think clearly about how lost you are without Jesus. Leave no stone unturned to understand Jesus’ saving work which he completed in his life, death and resurrection.
Heart: Do you have the same passion in spiritual matters as the servant showed for his earthly wellbeing?
Hands: We are not the only ones who need the saving work of Jesus. What can we do to stir in others the realization of their need of Jesus to secure an eternal home?
Prayer: Loving Father, I confess to you that my thoughts are moulded too much by the thinking of world around me. Please help me to look at life from an eternal perspective and seek first the Kingdom of God and be clear about my salvation in Christ. Help me to urge others to see the urgency of their need of Christ. In Jesus name. Amen
A song to listen to: Cornerstone
Living Church – Creek Road