How frustrating it can be to have to report to two different bosses.
Luke 16:1-13 – Focus on verse 13
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.’
Especially when those bosses are running two different agendas and have two differing expectations of what you should be doing and the outcomes you are to achieve. Thankfully during my working life, I was never in that position. But I know people who have been and the effects it can have on the worker and the work.
Jesus finishes this parable teaching with a stark, bold statement in verse 13. We just can’t satisfactorily serve two masters. If we try to, we will experience love and devotion towards one and we will hate and despise the other. Jesus then brings the discussion into sharper focus when he names the masters that are often pitted against each other vying for our devotion – God and money.
Jesus begins this parable with the phrase “There was a rich man…” It’s interesting how often Jesus starts teaching us something with stories that start in a similar way – we have the successful farmer who wanted to secure his future by building larger barns to store his produce (Luke 12), we have the rich ruler who is told to sell what he has and give the proceeds to the poor as well as the rich man dressed in fine linen and living in luxury (Luke 16). This parable about a shrewd manager goes further in that Jesus is encouraging us to apply something of the attitude this man has to the use of money in protecting his future to the way we should use money in investing in the eternal future of seeing people welcomed into the Kingdom of God.
This man was facing unemployment and a dire future without a home. But the way in which he dealt with his boss’s customers set him up for the future. He would be welcomed into their homes. Jesus says that this is the way we should be using our money – to make friends to be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
When it comes to money, we have to be faithful and trustworthy especially if it belongs to others. And of course – it all belongs to God. We must love and serve God and be devoted to him. When we do that money falls into its rightful place as a servant to help us serve God and others. We will then use it to turn people who don’t know Jesus into friends of his welcomed into eternal homes.
Head: What problems have you encountered in trying to please different people’s expectations of you at the same time?
Heart: When you compare the emotional connection you have with God to that you have with money what does it tell you?
Hands: What can you do differently this week to lessen money’s grip on your heart?
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven. This little verse which tells us we cannot serve both God and money is a stumbling block that trips me up every time I encounter it. It is easy to say that we are serving God and not money but often the evidence proves otherwise. Help each of us to see that money is a good servant to help us love God and others. Help us to lessen the grip money has on our hearts and give us a real joy as we use our money to make new friends for Jesus.
A song to listen to: Centre My Life
Living Church – Creek Road