BibleAsk Team

Did Jesus commend the unfaithful steward in Luke 16:1-3?

“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).

Jesus didn’t approve of the evil actions of the unfaithful steward but He only praised his shrewdness. By making for himself a host of friends who would be obligated to him in days to come. As we would say, 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. Had the steward been as lazy in making a final settlement with his master’s debtors as he had been in conducting business previously, he would not have succeeded with his evil scheme.

Men who live exclusively for this life often show more earnestness in their pursuit of what it has to offer than Christians do in their preparation for what God offers those who choose His service. It is a human weakness to give more thought to how we may serve ourselves than we do to how we can serve God and one another. The Christian should be characterized by “zeal,” but his zeal should be “according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2). He must have a true sense of values (Matt. 6:24–34) ans seek for eternity instead of earthy pursuits.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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