Did Jesus commend the unjust steward in Luke 16?


By BibleAsk Team

The Parable of the Unjust Steward – Luke 16

“He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’

“Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have 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 master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So 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?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.

“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what 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 be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:1-13).

The Meaning of the Parable

Jesus didn’t approve of the evil actions of the unjust steward but He only praised his shrewdness in making for himself many friends who would be obligated to help him in the days to come. As we would say today, the steward had “used his head.” He had exercised foresight by planning cleverly and shrewdly for his own future. His “wisdom,” or “sharpness,” consisted essentially in the use he made of present opportunities while they lasted.

In this parable, Jesus pointed that people who live mainly for this life often show more eagerness in their pursuit of what it has to offer than Christians do in their pursuit of eternal matters that God had freely made available for them. It is a human weakness to give more thought to how we may live for this vanishing life than prepare to live for God.

Christians should be characterized by “zeal,” but their zeal should be “according to knowledge”of the scriptures (Romans 10:2). The Jews, at Jesus time, had false zeal. Though they knew the books of the law and the prophets, they had no true understanding of the meaning of God’s words and dealings with men. Their knowledge turned into fanaticism, for they showed more zeal for the letter than for God. Had they been willing to obey God’s will, they would have come to an understanding of the truth (John 7:17). But they refused to submit.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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