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The Unjust Steward: Part 1

simplyrhetorical

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One of the teaching tools that Jesus used to illustrate His message was Parables.  Jesus used this “story” technique at least 31 times in His ministry.  Matthew recorded 11 of those verbal illustrations, while Mark recorded 2, followed by 18 in Luke.  The word Parable is a combination of two words that mean to “throw alongside.”  The question arises as to whether these short stories were actually true events or simply fictional experiences that were made up to illustrate a point.  If Jesus dealt with absolute truth, why would He make up a fictional experience to compliment His teachings?

 

There is so much to learn from the Parable of the Unjust Steward, that it would take numerous articles to cover the spiritual and moral implications of this story.  In reading the Scripture, do not limit yourself to time and boundary restraints.  Don’t make the mistake of quantity reading while failing to observe the content of the Word.  Some Christians set a goal of reading a chapter a day, but sadly, contextual understanding is overlooked.  It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you read.  If you do your reading in the morning, ask yourself in the evening, “What did I learn?”  If you cannot remember, it is time to slow things down and discover the truths you may have sped past.

 

Have you ever drawn an opinion or judged someone based on second-hand knowledge?  How about accepting gossip as factual representation?  One day, a rich man was approached by an individual who stated emphatically that the servant of this employer was involved in unethical behavior.  The wealthy employer immediately summoned his steward and demanded he turn in “an account of your management,” (Luke 16:2 Amplified) and then fired him.  How many people do we judge before we know all the facts?  (In this situation, the information the rich man received was right, but shouldn’t he have engaged his steward without bias?)  How many lives have been affected by receiving information from fringe observers?  Never judge another by proxy.  You may never know the motive of the “whistleblower.”

 

Instead of repenting of his deeds, the steward looks for a “life raft” to keep him afloat.  He was too proud to engage in physical labor and was ashamed to beg.  What he did shows the effects of unchecked sin in one’s life.  Knowing that he had only a few days to vacate the premises, he summons people that owed his employer money and then has them “quickly” falsify their bills.  They probably paid their shortened bill right then and there.  The rich man saw what he did and “commended” (praised) the man for acting “wisely” (shrewdly, prudently.)  Maneuverability in order to generate social acceptance is a trait that the world employs to promote self-importance.  The purpose of the steward was to gain favor with the people, so when he was ordered to leave the premises he would have a saving reputation with the people.  Unconfessed sin causes a descent into further degrees of sinfulness.  Not only did he cheat his employer by his selfish actions, but continued to steal the rich man’s money through the use of other people.  Sin is contagious and affects even the unsuspecting.

 

In the middle of this story, Jesus interjects that the people of the world are wiser (shrewd, conceited) than the “children of the light.” (Luke 16: 😎 The people of the world look for ways to sustain their sinful behavior, while Believers have a completely different standard.  Many of Jesus’ teachings are counter to the world’s standards.  There is a distinct difference between the wisdom of the world and the Believers’ wisdom.



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