Jesus taught the Parable of Faithfulness in Luke 19:11-27 and showed us how we must be faithful in little things. Jesus is teaching the same faithfulness in a different way using a dishonest steward as an example to show how the wicked is more shrewd than the righteous. He is also teaching us to use the wealth or riches which He calls it as ‘unrighteous’ to be friends with God who can invite us into His eternal home and serve Him rather than riches like the dishonest steward. Here Jesus is teaching us how to be faithful in little things which He calls as serving God.
Luke 16:1-8 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.
The above story is about a dishonest steward who acted shrewdly and Jesus taught us that the wicked are more shrewd than the righteous. Using that same story, Jesus is teaching us some important lessons on what we must do.
Luke 16:9 And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you
faildie [G1587 ἐκλείπω ekleipo], they may receive youyou may be received [G1209 δέχομαι dechomai] into an everlasting home. (NKJV)
Luke 16:9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. (NIV)
Mammon is wealth or riches which Jesus is calling as “unrighteous”. The word ‘ekleipo’ in Greek actually means to omit, (by implication) to cease or die. Did Jesus ever taught anywhere that you can fail and still enter His kingdom? Absolutely not. Read John 8:34-35 and Matt 18:8-9 to see how Christ is zero tolerant to sin. The verse itself speaks out that ‘ekleipo’ means to die when the next statement speaks about everlasting home which is only after resurrection. Similarly, the word ‘dechomai’ in Greek simply means ‘to receive, to accept’ as it is mentioned in NIV translation. The choice of words used by translators can even change the meaning. This is why we must always check the surrounding verses and other passages spoken by Jesus to compare if He is really saying that or not.
Jesus never taught anywhere to use our wealth to make friends but to be friends with Him who can invite us into His eternal home. Just as the dishonest steward who acted shrewdly, by using the master’s wealth to make friends who can receive him into their home, we must also use our wealth to make ourselves friends with God by giving it to Him who can receive us into an everlasting home.
Matt 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Matt 12:50 “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
We can give our wealth to God by giving it to the least of His brethren. Christ’s brothers are not some poor fellow but a poor person who does the will of His Father in heaven. In other words, we can become friends with God if we give our wealth to the poor and needy who are His disciples who truly follow Him.
Luke 16:10-13 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. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? 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.” Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.
Jesus taught that we must be faithful in all the riches we manage or handle that belongs to another man. For example, company expense claims, etc. If we are unfaithful in these small things how can God trust us with true riches? Being unfaithful in someone else’s money is what Jesus refers as serving wealth. But being faithful and honest on other’s money is serving God.
Jesus is teaching us that the wicked is more shrewd than the righteous. He is using the parable of the unjust steward as an example to show us how we must not be unfaithful on other’s wealth but to use our wealth and be friends with God who can invite us into His eternal home and serve Him rather than riches. Here Jesus is teaching us how to be faithful in little things which He calls as serving God.