Now [Jesus] was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 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; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes. And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And 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?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.
– Luke 16.1-9
This, in my opinion, is one of the trickiest parables that Jesus told to understand. A wicked man had a wicked manager over his estate. When the manager was in danger of losing his job, he made friends with the debtors by cutting their debt drastically so as to be sure that he had a place to go when he was out of work. The wicked owner then praised the manager’s shrewdness in short changing him, but making his own way. The wicked often praise the wicked.
The moral of the story, then, is that the men of the world know how to deal shrewdly, cunningly, cleverly with the things of this world, and that moreso than we as believers do with the things of God. Jesus wants us to be cunning, clever or shrewd with the things of Heaven to prepare ourselves for the coming evil: eternity. The one who makes friends using instruments of unrighteousness will find his place in Hell with the unrighteous. The one who makes friends using instruments of righteousness will find his place with these friends in Heaven.
Are you shrewd with the Gospel? Are you clever to convey it such that people hear and understand? Does it saturate your life so deeply that it comes out at every opportunity so that you are winning the lost to an eternity in Heaven? Are you being a good, faithful and clever steward of that which has been entrusted to you?
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”
– Luke 16.10-12
Are you longing for more Spiritual depth, responsibility, or insight? If so, are you being faithful with what you already have? We ought not look like the world in our cleverness or shrewdness. We ought to stand out, utilizing tools of righteousness, and proving ourselves to be both holy and competent to converse with the world around us.
When I was in college, I was a part of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru). We were a relatively small group, averaging 450 on a campus of 37,406 students. Some of the students came up with an outreach plan. For a week or more, most of the Cru attendees wore a T-Shirt on campus that read, “I agree with Dave”. Dave was one of the students. On the last day of the push, he wore a brightly colored T-shirt that read, “I am Dave”. By the time he wore his T-shirt, many people had seen the others that said “I agree with Dave” and he was bombarded by people wondering why so many agreed with him, and when asked he shared the Gospel. Being on the campus of one of the leading schools of business, Cru made the newspaper for our “marketing strategy” and cleverness to get the story out in a new and unique way.
Are we as individuals and churches purposefully engaging those around us with the Gospel? Are we being clever to turn conversations back to the only true hope that we have? Are we leaders in business, research, science, technology and the other wonderful gifts God has given us? All to the end of His glory? Let’s rock our world for Christ. Thoughtfully, passionately, insightfully, impactfully.