THE STORIES OF US – THE UNJUST STEWARD, PART II – SERMON RESOURCES
ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP
In this parable it seems to me that Jesus is going to great lengths to reveal something about the Father to us.
Money plays a significant role in this story that’s obvious, but I don’t believe that’s what this story is really about. I don’t believe that Jesus is teaching us how to handle money here. If so, then you have to confront the simple reading of this parable that has Jesus telling you to steal money and use it to secure your future. Is there space for another understanding of this parable, let’s consider together that the steward takes a risk because he encounters a merciful master. What if Jesus is telling this story with this merciful master because he wants us to see something he knows about his Father? Remember the master in this story has been cheated, he’s owed a debt from the steward, yet he doesn’t demand it.
Clearly the story is about money, but what if the story is also about how the unjust steward finds the master? This is why this parable is so problematic, we can’t reduce to just one thing, maybe Jesus is inviting us to be fully present in the spaces we find ourselves and he’s saying , “Pay attention to the master in the story, how do you find him?” I think we reduce the parable to being just about how to manage money, without stopping and asking why Jesus casts the master the way he does? When we do this, I believe we miss out on another benefit that Jesus is presenting, a deeper understanding of the Father.
We came into the world God created with nothing and we will leave it the same way.
All that we have is a gift from God.
The master has found out that the steward has mismanaged the master’s estate.
We have misused our gifts from God in the same way.
Who can stand before God and say that we’ve done well with what we’ve been given?
At some point, we all find ourselves guilty, unrighteous, even.
The steward is called to give an account in the future.
So will we be.
What will we do in the meantime? The steward only has what has been given him by the master, so that is all that he has at his disposal.
All that we have is gift from God.
That’s all we can use. (The rub is, we think we have things that are our own, that we have earned.) Jesus says that the steward was wise to use what he had received to make friends. “Do likewise,” Jesus says.
How do we prepare for the future? Use what we have (which is not ours in the first place) to develop strong friendships with those who have influence with God. And who are these folks, the ones who have God’s heart? The poor, the orphans, the weak, the outcasts, that’s who!
- How do you find God today?
- Are you willing to risk everything to follow Jesus through the narrow gate as he leads us into the unknown?
- Are you willing to open your hands to receive the gift that God has for you today?
THE PARABLE OF THE MERCIFUL MASTER
Find a time when you have 10-15 minutes without distraction. In your Bible, read the story of the shrewd manager (Luke 16:1-9). Try to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of God by renaming this parable, “The Merciful Master” then take some time to retell the story. What do you changes in your retelling? What do you focus on? Are there new characters? New speakers? Imagine that Jesus is trying to get someone to understand that his Father is kind, merciful, and full of grace, how would you communicate this posture and picture? Spend a minute or two in silence listening to God. Then close with a prayer of thanksgiving.
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: email@example.com.