Monday, July 18, 2016

Luke 16:1-9

Luke 16:1-9
And He was also saying to the disciples, “Some man was rich, and he was having a steward.  And this one was being accused to him as one who scatters that which he possessed.  And after calling him, he said, ‘What is this I hear regarding you?  Hand over the word of your management, for you are not powerful enough to still be a steward.’  And the steward said to himself, ‘What should I do, because my lord took away the stewardship from me?  I am not strong enough to dig.  I am too ashamed to beg.  I know what I should do, in order that when I should be removed out of the stewardship others will receive me into their houses.’  And after calling each one of the lord’s debtors to himself he was saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe to my lord?’  And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’  And he said to him, ‘Take your writing.  And after sitting down, quickly write fifty.’  After that, he said to another, ‘How much do you owe?’  And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’  And he says, ‘Take your writing and write eighty.’  And the lord approved of the unrighteous steward, because he did prudently, since the sons of this age are more prudent than the sons of light into their own generation.  And I say to you all, Make friends for yourselves out of the common treasure of the unrighteous.  When it should fail, they should receive you into eternal dwelling places.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Okay, we’ll talk about the elephant in the room first.  Most people who read this passage often ask, “Does Jesus really commend the steward for disregarding the wealth of the master for his own gain?”  Yes, he does.  If we look towards the end of the passage, we can hear His justification.  Jesus tells us to make friends using the “common treasure of the unrighteous.”  In other words, recognize that you can’t take wealth with you.  Wealth is fleeting.  You have it one minute, it’s gone the next.  This doesn’t mean that we should use wealth poorly.  We shouldn’t use this to justify financing sinful pursuits.  But, if we can trade the temporary wealth of this world in for relationships that last eternally then we are ahead of the game.  That’s what Jesus is commending.  Jesus isn’t saying that the steward was a morally righteous person in his act.  In fact, Jesus calls him an unrighteous steward.  But Jesus does credit him for knowing how to convert a temporary resource into an eternal one.  That’s to be commended.

What temporary resources are you trying to hold onto?  Can you turn any of those temporary resources into eternal ones?

Second Thought:

Having dealt with the elephant in the passage, let’s turn to two other points that are easily lost.  The first of those points is that we once more see how important it is to make a plan in order to get out of our sinfulness.  We saw this a few days ago with the younger son when he had spent his way through the father’s inheritance.  Now we see it in the unrighteous steward.  He’s fallen.  His sinfulness has lost him his job.  But he recognizes his mistakes.  He sets up a plan to get out of this situation.  He lives out the plan and is commended for it.

When your sinfulness wreaks havoc on your life, are you a planner?  How many times has grasping at straws actually caused more damage than if you would have just sat down and made a plan to stop the sinfulness in your life?

Third Thought:

Let’s look at the master for a second.  He often gets overlooked as we focus on the unrighteous steward.  However, he is an incredible agent of grace.  He could have fired the steward on the spot.  He could have cast him out of the house right at the beginning.  But he doesn’t.  The master – at significant expense to his own wealth – allows the steward to make plans for the future.  This is unwarranted grace.  It is something that we should look at and honor.  It is the kind of grace that comes from God, who is willing to sacrifice Himself for the benefit of us.

Have you ever received the kind of grace that comes at the sacrifice of another?  How does that feel?  Have you ever sacrificed yourself so others could have time to put themselves in a better position?  How does that feel?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 16:10-13
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