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Does God commend dishonest dealing? Certainly not. Note that the commendation of the unjust servant comes from his master, not our Lord. Our Lord’s exhortation begins in v. 9. It is not the steward’s dishonesty that God commends, but rather only the man’s prudence as an example for us to follow. As Christians, we too often fail to be “wise as serpents,” as Jesus exhorts us in Matthew 10:16.

BibleGateway: Luke 16:1-13

ESV Text: Luke 16:1-13

Luke 16:1–13 (Listen)

The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

16:1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures1 of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures2 of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world3 are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth,4 so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Footnotes

[1] 16:6 About 875 gallons or 3,200 liters

[2] 16:7 Between 1,000 and 1,200 bushels or 37,000 to 45,000 liters

[3] 16:8 Greek age

[4] 16:9 Greek mammon, a Semitic word for money or possessions; also verse 11; rendered money in verse 13

(ESV)


KJV Text: Luke 16:1-13

The section starts at about 0:0 and ends at about 2:6

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     1 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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. 5 So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? 6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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. 10 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. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? 13 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.(KJV)


Hymn: TLH 438 :
Almighty Father, Heaven and Earth

Hymnary.org

Organ Audio

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1. Almighty Father, heaven and earth
With lavish wealth before Thee bow;
Those treasures owe to Thee their birth,
Creator, Ruler, Giver, Thou.

2. The wealth of earth, of sky, of sea,
The gold, the silver, sparkling gem,
The waving corn, the bending tree,
Are Thine; to us Thou lendest them.

3. To Thee, as early morning’s dew,
Our praises, alms, and prayer shall rise
As rose, when joyous earth was new,
Faith’s patriarchal sacrifice.

4. We, Lord, would lay, at Thy behest
The costliest offerings on Thy shrine;
But when we give, and give our best,
We give Thee only what is Thine.

5. O Father, whence all blessings come;
O Son, Dispenser of God’s store;
O Spirit, bear our offerings home:
Lord, make them Thine forevermore.