The Parables of Jesus
April 4, 2022
Is it all about Him or you?
I’m sure you’ve met them. I’m talking about people who believe it’s all about them.
It’s the person who will stop at nothing to get the promotion that comes with the corner office. It’s the guy who makes a lot of money but never thinks once about giving any to charity or the needy. And those “Mean Girls” at your school who believe it’s all about them and you’re not good enough to be part of the “It” crowd.
Suppose I asked 50 people who read this devotion today. I’m sure they’d all have a different story about people who always make their lives more important than others.
It’s okay. Just remember, don’t be a me or I person; instead, be a Him person.
This brings us to today’s Parable.
Being shrewd to excess can make you a me or I person.
Dictionary. Com’s definition of shrewd is:
“Having or showing astute or sharp judgment in practical matters, sometimes at the cost of moral compromise; cunning or tricky.”
I believe the part about moral compromise and cunning defines the main character of today’s story.
The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
“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 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 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.
“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. So, if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
“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.”
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. Luke 16:1-15
After reading today’s Parable, you can see that the Shrewd Manager was one of those people I spoke about earlier. He was all about me, not Him. Obviously, he had been skimming money off the top from his boss, the rich man. When he got caught, all he could think about was how he could make life better for himself.
He had his master’s debtors lower the amount they owed him, so they would like him. The rich man commended his manager for being shrewd. Not for being shrewd in his dealing with his money, but for how he maneuvered the debtor’s so he would look good.
The manager in this story reminds me of the prodigal son. He, too, was very free with money he hadn’t earned. But, as Jesus says later in the Parable, the manager is a person who could not be trusted with a little or a lot.
In verse thirteen, Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money.” Jesus was telling His disciples to be wise with their money and use it to glorify God. In many parables we’ve read, wealthy people were self-serving and never thought to give to the poor and needy. If we do this, then we are serving money, not God.
Finally, once again, Jesus aimed His final comments at the Pharisees who were present.
“The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”
Money and our treasures are temporal; they are of this world. Therefore, we should never worship the world; only God is worthy of our service and worship.
Dear Jesus. Help us to keep our priorities straight. We know we should not worship things of this world, yet there are times that we do. May your Spirit guide us to use the earthly wealth you have blessed us with as a blessing to others. Amen.