Luke 16 v 2. “What is this I hear about you?”
This must have been a hugely embarrassing moment for the manager (or steward of the estate). Once again it is one of our Lord’s parables, but as always, so true to life. Here is a little glimpse into the important truth that our sins will always find us out. In the parable the manager had been “wasting” his master’s possessions. This means fraud, mismanagement or even misappropriation of his boss’ money. But, as always, it all comes out. Have you noticed how secrets always leak out? Sooner or later any lies we tell or any lies we live will be exposed.
In the previous parable we were told of a son who wasted his inheritance, but at least the money was his, even if he did not earn it. Now we are told of a trusted employee who wasted his boss’ money. Prison was beckoning.
In the case of the prodigal son we noted that even at the eleventh hour, when he was in the depths of despair, he could return to his father and be forgiven. So too with us. The fact that we have wasted our lives makes no difference to the pardon we shall receive when we turn to God with true repentance and faith in Christ.
But this present parable of the crooked manager gives us another side to the story. If we waste our lives and resources there are certain eternal consequences. What are they? Before we get there let us note that it is not the intention of Jesus to get us to copy the manager’s dishonesty, in the parable he presents. Rather Jesus meant to underscore the need for us all to have foresight and he uses this crooked character to show us how shrewd we all need to be when it comes to eternity.
Realising he would soon lose his job, he uses his last few days in which he has some measure of control of his master’s goods, to prepare for his future. His future of course, meant somewhere to live, where he would be welcomed. So he got some of his master’s debtors to reduce their accounts thereby getting them into his debt and ensuring a welcome for him so he does not need to become a beggar or a lowly labourer.
The point Jesus is making is that nothing in this world ultimately belongs to us (1 Timothy 6 v 7). We are only stewards or managers of God’s possessions. While we have it in our control we must use it to make “friends” i.e. influence people, make people glad they know us. We cannot use money to BUY salvation, but we can use it to ensure that other people HEAR about salvation and are given an opportunity to embrace it. It is put well in v 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.”
It is unbecoming for people who are Christians to be stingy and miserly. In fact it is futile for anybody to be like that. Even the world’s wealthy today realise that, so they establish foundations and charities with their wealth which, of course is a good thing
If you have got it, use it while you can, be Gospel-minded and use your wherewithal to assist others to hear the good news.
You will receive a rousing welcome into the “eternal dwellings”.