for the children of this world are, in their own generation, wiser than the children of the light. I tell you, make for yourselves friends by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when you fail, they may receive you into the eternal tents. He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will 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 one, and despise the other. You aren’t able to serve God and mammon." (web)
The rich man represents the world system devoted to the accumulation of money. Let's call this world system simply "Money". The shrewd manager represents the Christian who while being in the world is not of it. The manager didn't really serve the rich man, rather he served his own interests. The Christian doesn't really serve the world system, he serves Christ. He doesn't serve Money the way that Money would like him to. He isn't accumulating money the way in which a faithful devoted servant of Money would. So Money threatens him with poverty and insecurity unless he serves faithfully. This is the pressure that many Christians face - whether to serve God or Money. Which is our source of security? Which offers greater wealth? Many a Christian is crushed by the worries, riches and pleasures of this life and bring no fruit to maturity. But Christians should use the world's resources to serve God and in this way gain for themselves eternal rewards. See "Investing in an HRA".
But there seems to be implied a certain selfishness in this. Most Christians, while claiming selfless devotion to Christ, are motivated out of a sense of personal gain in their service to Christ. It is true that as one matures, one develops a more selfless attitude, but even among those who reckon themselves "spiritually mature" such selflessness is often underdeveloped. It is interesting that such selfishness does not disqualify one from service to Christ. Rather Christ actually encourages to use such as a motivation for diligent service. It seems he simply doesn't have particularly high expectations of people behaving as servants of God just because it is the right thing to do. Because of the sinful nature, people are only motivated to seek God because there is reward in it.
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Heb 11:6Jesus also speaks on being TRUSTWORTHY. But what he says seems to be inherently contradictory. For while he commends being trustworthy with someone else's things, he also seems to commend the unjust servant who was unfaithful with his master's things. However, when taken with the statements which follow these concerning there being two masters, this contradiction can be resolved. How many masters are there in the parable? Only one is presented. But in reality there are two. In serving God, Christians appear to hate the world system. They love the one and hate the other. That is the way it should be. God rebukes those nominal Christians who sit on the fence trying to serve both.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1John 2:15-17Having God as Master, the Christian views material resources as responsibilities entrusted to him by God for which he will be rewarded if he uses them in a responsible manner in service to God.
|There was a rich man whose manager did waste
Much of his things, so he called him in haste
"What is this I hear about you?
Get ready to leave because you are through."
The manager thought to himself, "What shall I do now?
I'm ashamed to beg and I can't even plow.
I know what I'll do so that when I leave
I'll be welcomed elsewhere and I won't have to grieve."
So he called each one of his master's debtors
And promised each one to make their debt better
To those owing eight hundred he cut in half
No doubt this would surely make them laugh
From a thousand he wrote eight hundred bushels of wheat
While the rest of their debt he did delete.
The master commended this servant for being so shrewd.
So what is my point, to what do I allude?
The world is more shrewd in dealing with its kind
Whoever can be trusted with just a little bit
The Berean Christian Bible Study ResourcesJul 29,2015