“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.
Luke 16:8 (NASB)
People sometimes regard money as an unspiritual issue, but Jesus was very bold on the subject of finances. In the three years of His public ministry, people understood that He was interested in them, not in money. The basic principle of release for all fruitfulness, including finances, has to do with giving.
Salvation has no price tag; you can go to heaven even if you never give God a dime. Growth, however, often hinges on a decision to take a fundamental point of biblical commitment in giving. You determine whether the finances of this life are governed by the world’s system, or the Lord’s. This what Jesus is teaching here: Which spirit are you going to be ruled by? By the Divine hand of God, who is the Giver of all, or the spirit of the world, which is mammon?
There is a difference between a disciple (v. 1) and a believer. A disciple is a believer, but a believer isn’t necessarily a disciple. A believer has put his faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. A disciple is also willing to grow in fruitfulness. There are people who never learn to give because they are afraid, or have been so shaped by circumstances that they aren’t willing to grow.
A home represents a place to live. Jesus’ lesson is not about having money, but about living in an environment where no matter what happens, you’re not chewed up by the world’s money system. The irony is that many believers accept the Lord’s system for their salvation, but not for their money. These people lose the opportunity to become disciples in a very pragmatic, fundamental area of life.
Financial tension is the most effective stress point in a home. The way to preempt it is to get your money management out of the world’s system and into the Divine system. But the price tag for that is very clear in the Bible: it starts with the tithe, ten percent. The principle of the tithe precedes, penetrates and exceeds the Law. Abraham—the model of a person who learns to walk in faith, not in the resources of human wisdom—tithed (Genesis 14:20). Jesus reinforces the concept of the tithe in Matthew 23:23.
In this story, the steward acted as a broker, changing the books and setting himself up to be fired because he cheated his master. Then why does the master [who is not Jesus] commend him? (v. 8) Because the steward was working the world’s system for all it was worth. But the master “got the last laugh” and fired him anyway.
Pastor Jack Hayford