The Unjust Steward

The Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-13) I. The Lord Jesus Christ here instructed His disciples about faithfulness in all things (1TI 3:8-11), uncertainties (PRO 27:1), potential loss of stewardship (1CO 9:27), prudence (PRO 22:3), and the difference between being a lover of money (1TI 6:10) and a friend of money (ECC 10:19). II. Some have interpreted Christ's lesson from the unjust steward as a license for questionable or shady business dealings where practicality may override principle. A. Purloining (pilfering, misappropriation of resources, especially where there is a breach of trust) cannot be justified. TIT 2:9-10. B. There are times when godly deception is justified to save life (EXO 1:15-21) but not to save face. Honesty is generally the best policy in all things. 1TH 4:11-12. C. Christ elsewhere taught his disciples from a parable about a nagging woman and an unjust judge (LUK 18:1-8) but this does not justify constant complaining or unjust judgment. 1. This is an example of reasoning from the lesser to the greater, from the inferior to the superior. If an unjust, carnal judge with limited patience and longsuffering avenged a nagging petitioner, would not the perfectly righteous Judge in due time avenge His own elect which have ongoing, genuine petitions? 2. Likewise, the account of the unjust steward. a. Carnal men are deemed wise for providing ahead for themselves when they have been notified of their loss of stewardship. b. This instruction would have particular relevance to Christ’s bishops who are His stewards. TIT 1:7. III. The steward (an official who controls the domestic affairs of a household, supervising the service of his master’s table, directing the domestics, and regulating household expenditure; a major- domo) had wasted his master's goods and was called into account for it. vs. 1-3. A. Have you ever noticed how much easier it is for men to waste others’ goods than their own? “A fool and his money are soon parted; a fool with your money sooner.” (PWB) B. Unrepented sin cannot be hid. Sooner or later, it will be revealed and there shall be an accounting. 1TI 5:24-25; 1CO 4:5. C. The discovery and judgment of the steward's sins were sudden and unexpected. So shall it be to those who have spent their lives in this world only thinking of themselves. LUK 16:19-23; 12:16-21; PSA 73:3, 17-20. D. v. 3. The steward may have had valid limitations on what else he could do (“...I cannot dig;...”,) but pride (“...to beg I am ashamed...”) is not a valid limitation. PRO 8:13; 16:18-19. 1. It is not a shame to beg when there is nothing else one can do. LUK 16:20-22. 2. It is a shame to beg when one could work but will not. PRO 20:4; 2TH 3:10. IV. The steward decided to do something to buffer his fall. vs. 4-7. A. He further misused his lord’s resources to buy influence for himself. B. The steward's worldliness and pride drove him from one error to another rather than repent and beg forgiveness. c/w MAT 18:26-27. C. We go in the wrong direction when we try to cover one sin with another. 2SAM 12:8-9; PRO 28:13. V. The lord of the steward commended him for his wisdom. v. 8. A. Worldly people have a strange value system! B. It is a general observation that worldly people have a more keen business acumen than the saints. GEN 25:27. C. The saints should be at least this wise in THEIR generation, making provision for the next world. MAT 6:19-21; 1TI 6:17-19. D. We ought not to be “shown up” by worldly-minded sinners or stupid bugs. PRO 6:6-8. VI. The Savior then advised his disciples to learn a lesson from the unjust steward and be faithful in financial matters. vs. 9-13. A. These instructions are especially weighty to gospel ministers, who are “...STEWARDS of the mysteries of God...” (1CO 4:1-2). B. It is wise for ministers to be diligent in business and, when possible, to have a safety-net in event of the loss of a ministry. ACT 18:3; PRO 22:3. C. Jesus said, “...WHEN ye fail...” (v. 9), not “...if ye fail...” 1. All of the apostles failed of life: they aged and died. c/w PSA 71:9; ECC 12:3. 2. Ministers should be ready to help those in genuine need even as they teach the saints to do so. GAL 6:9-10; 2:10. 3. Such shall be received into everlasting habitations. MAT 25:34-40. D. If a person is unfaithful in financial and everyday matters, he has no business seeking the ministry. vs. 10-12 c/w 1CO 4:2; 1TI 3:3, 7. E. While diligence in worldly matters is required, a balance must be struck. 1. We may be friends of the unrighteous mammon but not its lovers. v. 13 c/w 1TI 6:10. 2. The fashion of this world is for our use, not abuse. 1CO 7:29-31. F. Those who know and faithfully do these things will receive the true riches. v. 11 c/w EPH 3:14-19 ct/w LUK 8:14.