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The Parable about
the Dishonest Manager


Luke 16:1-15

Service Notes


LUKE 16:1-15
     1.  Jesus said to HIS friends, "One rich man had a house servant.  That servant-manager took-care-of the house.  And the rich man blamed the servant with wasting his things.
     2.  And the rich man called the servant and said, 'What do I hear about you?  Give-me an exact counting of your work, because you will not remain my house servant.'
     3.  The house servant thought, 'What will I do?  My boss takes-away my work of servant.  I am not strong enough to dig.  I feel ashamed to beg.
     4.  I know what I will do.  Then after my boss dismisses me from my work, then they will accept me into their house.'
     5.  And the servant called everyone with debts to his boss, and he said to the first man, 'How-much do you owe my boss?'
     6.  The man answered, '800 GALLONS of OIL.'  And the chief servant said to him, 'Take your BILL and sit and write 400 GALLONS.'
     7.  Then the servant said to another man, 'How-much do you owe?'  The man answered, '1,000 BUSHELS of WHEAT.'  And the chief servant said to him, 'Take your bill and write 800.'
     8.  And the boss praised the sinful house servant, because he did a clever thing.  Because the people of this world are in their business with their people; they are wiser than the people of the light.
     9.  And I tell you, use your money for making friends for yourselves.  Then after that money is all-gone, your friends will accept you into their eternal homes.
    10.  The person that takes-care-of not important things will also take-care-of really important things.  And the person not honest about little things, will also not be-honest about really important things.
    11.  Now, if you God can't trust the way you manage earthly money, do you think God will trust you with true spiritual riches?
    12.  And if you aren't careful with things that belong to another person, do you think God will give you more things for yourself?
    13.  No servant can obey two bosses.  He will hate one boss and love the other boss.  Or the servant will follow the one boss and don't-care about the other boss.  You can't attend to God and to earthly things."
    14. The Pharisees were listening to all these things and made fun of Jesus.  Why?  They loved money.
    15.  Jesus told them, “You make yourselves look good in front of people, but God knows what is really in your hearts.  The things that people think are important, those things God hates.
 

The Master = 

The Manager = 

The Debtors =  

"People of Light" = 

"Eternal Homes" = 

Application to me:



    And the boss praised the sinful servant, because he did a clever thing.  Because the people of this world are in their business with their people; they are wiser than the people of the light.
     And I tell you, use your money for making friends for yourselves.  Then after that money is all-gone, your friends will accept you into their eternal homes.

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Notice one big difference between getting fired in the old days, and getting fired now.  In the old days, the boss gave you a one-week or two-week notice [warning], giving you time to look for another job. 

Not today!  When your boss tells you that your job is finished, what happens next?  A security officer goes with you back to your desk, gives you a box, and watches you while you pack your stuff, and then he leads you to the door -- bye!  Why?  Because of workers like this one!

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This story is hard.

Jesus said some strange things here.
And He didn't explain clearly what the story means.

As we normally do when we read parables,
    we must ask what each person represents.

So...
The Master =  ??
The Manager =  ??
The Debtors = ??

If we follow the explanations for other stories like this one,
    we can guess...
The Master = God.

Ok, that's easy.
But who is the Manager?

Jesus says that the Manager represents "people of light."
Who are "people of light"?

Normally, when the Bible uses those words,
    "light" means truth,   
    and "people of light" means Christian people,
        people who trust Jesus to forgive all their sins.
    They love Him all their heart,
        and they excitedly wait for Jesus to bring them home
            with Him.

So, what does Jesus say about "people of light" in this story?

Jesus said,
The people of this world are in their business with their people, they are wiser than the people of the light.

Let me say that another way:

People that belong to the world,
    they obey the devil more strongly
        than Christian people obey God!

People that belong to the world,
    they use God's gifts for evil more successfully
        the Christian people use God's gifts for serving Him.

Sad, but true.

Lord, please help us.
Forgive us.
Make our hearts desire You, 100%.


Then the next sentence Jesus says is puzzling.

And I tell you, use your money for making friends for yourselves.  Then after that money is all-gone, your friends will accept you into their eternal homes.

Eternal homes?  Where is that?

The eternal home for Christian people is heaven.

How can we use worldly money for making friends
    that will welcome us to heaven?

(Invite people to offer their ideas.)

One very important way that we can use our money
    for making friends who will welcome us to heaven is
        MISSIONS.

-- supporting programs that tell people about Jesus.
-- supporting schools that train pastors, teachers, evangelists, and missionaries.

We can gain wealth, but we can keep nothing.

Only one thing that we have can continue forever:
    our relationship [connect] with God through Jesus Christ.

All of our worldly wealth will all go "poof!"
Noting that this world offers continues forever.  Nothing!


So, if we can't keep our money forever, we can use our money for doing something that will continue forever.

Imagine that you are in heaven,
    and a person comes to you and says, "Thank you!!!"

For what?  You never met that person before.
    "Thank you, because you sent a missionary
        who told me about Jesus.
    Your gift made possible for me to learn
        that Jesus suffered and died on the cross for me
        and that He forgave all my sins.
    Thank you!"

Jesus said,
Use your money for making friends for yourselves.  Then after that money is all-gone, your friends will accept you into their eternal homes.

That is one possible way for understanding this parable.


But that explanation is not really satisfying.
Why?

What that servant did was not honest!
That servant had responsibility for managing his boss' money.
That wasn't his [the servant's] money.
The servant used that money in wrong ways
    for the benefit of himself,
        not the boss' benefit.

And the boss praised the sinful servant, because he did a smart thing. 

Smart?  Yes.   But that didn't matter. 
His Boss still fired him.

It seems strange that Jesus uses a bad person doing wrong
    as our example that we should copy.

Cheating never honors God.

If we read past the end of Jesus' story,
    we get more understanding about that story.

The Pharisees were listening to all these things and made fun of Jesus.  Why?  They loved money.
Jesus told them, “You make yourselves look good in front of people, but God knows what is really in your hearts.  The things that people think are important, those things God hates."  (Luke 16:14-15)

Pharisees were "religious" people.
They thought they were better than everyone else.
They had pride because they knew God's Laws
    better than everyone else.
They believed that they obeyed God
    better than everyone else.

Pharisees saw themselves as "holy people of light."

Maybe Jesus' message to them in this story was --
"Use your money for making friends for yourselves.   Because, when you go-down to your eternal home, you will need some friends down-there... in hell!"


So, which interpretation for this story is right?

    One interpretation is positive, speaking to Christians.

    The other interpretation is negative, a hard warning to
        proud religious unbelievers.


The negative interpretation is a strong warning
    for all people that live for themselves
        and refuse to trust God.

The positive interpretation encourages true Christians
    to live 100% following Christ,
and see that our worldly riches and things
    are not really ours, but they belong to God,

God wants us to use that wealth and those things
        for helping other people know Him.


Parables Index