And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Luke 16:1-13
What do we learn from the unjust steward? What is Jesus teaching us with this parable?
With this parable, Jesus instructs us concerning wise use of the money and earthly goods that are entrusted to us by God. While Jesus does not commend the wickedness of the unjust steward, He does hold up the wisdom of this unjust steward as an example for us.
When this unjust steward saw that he would lose his position as steward or manager of his lord’s goods, he used the short time he had left as steward to reduce the bills of his lord’s debtors so that they would show kindness and care for him when he was no longer steward. In this way, the unjust steward wisely used the money and goods entrusted to his care to provide for his future well-being.
During our earthly lives, God also entrusts us with money and goods to use wisely for Him. Like the unjust steward, we ought to consider our eternal future and use this money and these goods in a way that looks ahead to that day when our earthly life comes to an end and we stand before God’s judgment.
Certainly, we cannot buy our way into heaven with the unrighteous mammon of this world; but since God freely gives us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life in heaven for Jesus’ sake, we should use the unrighteous mammon entrusted to us to make ready for everlasting life in heaven.
Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21).
As Christians, we should use the money and goods entrusted to us in this world to advance God’s kingdom of grace, to spread the Gospel of forgiveness and life eternal through faith in Jesus Christ. Then our treasure will be in heaven, where we also will be received by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
“Lord of Glory, who hast bought us with Thy life-blood as the price, never grudging for the lost ones that tremendous sacrifice, give us faith to trust Thee boldly, hope, to stay our souls on Thee; but, oh! best of all Thy graces, give us Thine own charity. Amen.” (The Lutheran Hymnal, Hymn #442, Verse 5)
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]