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Parable of the Shrewd Manager

Description: the Parable of the Shrewd (dishonest) Manager (Luke 16:1-15) is particularly relevant when we face challenges, especially those that test faith and behaviour under pressure. It’s helpful to decode key points and discover how they can inspire and empower us in testing times.


Parable of the Shrewd Manager

Why would Jesus praise a shrewd (dishonest) manager?

Although the parable offers profound insights, some aspects can be difficult. For instance, why would Jesus praise a dishonest manager? By exploring such questions, we can gain insights into the complexities of human behaviour, the importance of wise stewardship, and the call to align our worldly resources with eternal values. So let's start decoding.


Responsible stewardship

The parable reminds us of the importance of responsible stewardship – and God has entrusted us with various resources, such as time, talents, and finances. Just like the shrewd manager, we will be held accountable for how we manage our God-given gifts. The challenge is to use our gifts wisely and with integrity. After all, they are intended to promote God's values, not our own. Doing this can help us make a more positive impact in many areas of our lives.


Unleashing creativity

When confronted, the shrewd manager showed resourcefulness and creativity, i.e. he thought outside the box to safeguard his future. Instead of letting ourselves be discouraged by obstacles, we can draw inspiration from his example and tap into the resourcefulness with which God has blessed us. By embracing righteous creativity and exploring new opportunities, we can overcome challenges and fulfil God's purposes.


Material wealth with wisdom

The manager used his master's resources to build relationships, which illustrates the ‘wise’ use of material wealth. Whereas he acted dishonourably, clearly we should not. As stewards of God's blessings, we should strive to view our positions in life - along with our wealth and possessions - as resources to bless others. Doing this advances God's kingdom (cheating and conniving, as the manager did, certainly doesn't).


Developing our spirit of generosity and compassion, and using our resources to meet the needs of others, lies behind this parable. This can bring about positive change in the lives of those around us and make a lasting impact.


Nurturing integrity and honesty

Although the manager's resourcefulness was commendable in a limited way, Jesus did not commend dishonesty. The parable reminds us of the importance of integrity, since we are called to live lives of honesty and behave ethically. In other words, our characters should reflect Christ's love in all areas of our lives and shine as a testament to faith. Living with integrity, brings honour to God and provides inspiration for others.


Eternal values

It’s no revelation to say that many in our world are focused on temporary achievements and material success. This parable urges us to prioritise eternal values. Earthly wealth and accolades are fleeting. Righteousness and faithfulness endure. Our challenge is to fix our gaze on God's kingdom by investing our time, talents, and resources in ways that have eternal significance. Aligning our priorities with God's purposes brings lasting fulfilment and purpose.


Faithfulness in the small things

The parable highlights the significance of faithfulness in small matters. Although, the manager's astuteness was commended, a more telling point is that he couldn’t be trusted with earthly responsibilities. Our challenge is to embrace faithfulness in everyday matters. This is because even the smallest act can have a significant impact. By being faithful in little things, we are seizing opportunities to honour God because we are serving others in truth.


Serving God or money

The parable concludes with Jesus' poignant statement about the impossibility of serving both God and money (Luke 16.13). This is a sobering reminder not to allow worldly possessions or financial pursuits to override devotion to God. True wealth and fulfilment are found in commitment to our Saviour, and this means guarding our hearts against the fleeting allure of self-centred material wealth.


Parable conclusion

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager offers invaluable guidance for modern-day Christians. By embracing responsible stewardship, resourcefulness, integrity, and a focus on eternal values, we can more confidently navigate the complexities of life. The challenge is for us to be faithful stewards of the blessings entrusted to us, to use them to advance God's kingdom, and to leave a lasting legacy of faithfulness for generations to come.






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