The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

In his book of sermons “The Living Faith,” Lloyd C. Douglas tells the story of Thomas Hearne, who, in his journey to the mouth of the Coppermine River, wrote that a few days after they had started on their expedition, a party of Indians stole most of their suppli … More


We could title these verses, “The proper use of Money.” Our use of money is a good test of the lordship of Christ. Money can be a wonderful servant but a terrible master. We must remember that the love of money is still “the root of all kinds of evil” (I Tim. 6:10). The steward referred to here does not own the wealth himself, but he has the privilege of enjoying it and using it for the profit of his master. However, he forgets that he is a steward and begins to act as if he is the owner and wastes his master’s wealth. When his master hears about this, he immediately asks for an inventory and an audit of the books (vv. 1-2).

Before we judge this man too severely, we need to take inventory of our own lives to see how faithful we have been as stewards of what God has given to us. Many people think that all they need to do is give ten percent of their earnings to the Lord, and all the rest belongs to them to do with as they please. This is not what God’s word teaches. Heaven’s riches are far more valuable than earthly wealth. We are just as accountable for what we do with the other ninety percent as we are the ten percent. This stewardship not only includes our material wealth but it also includes our time (Eph. 5:15-17), our gifts, and abilities (I Pet. 4:10). We see this steward giving his masters’ creditors a generous discount if they will pay what they owe immediately (vv. 3-8). Jesus did not commend the steward for robbing his master but he did commend him for his wise use of opportunity (v. 8). Faithfulness is the key in stewardship (vv. 9-13). Money has the power to take God’s place in your life. It can become your master.


Like this steward, I will one day have to give an account of my stewardship (II Cor. 5:10). I must heed what Jesus says about the right and wrong use of material things.

Luke 16:1-13 (English Standard Version)

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