The parable of the shrewd manager (Luke 16:1-13) is one of the most difficult lessons of Jesus to unpack. It seems like he wants us to root for the dishonest guy in the story, but if we dig a little deeper, we see that there are some important lessons to learn for how we deal with money today.
Embrace God’s Perspective on Money
We shouldn’t be dishonest like the manager in the story. But, like the manager in the story, we (1) are stewarding God’s gifts to us, (2) must one day give an account of how we use what he’s given us, and (3) should invest with this future in mind. This is the point of another parable about money, the Parable of the Servants (Matthew 25:14-30).
If we fail to have the right perspective and allow money to own us, instead of viewing it as a tool to honor God and invest in his kingdom, we will plunge into spiritual destruction.
1 Timothy 6:9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.
Our Spending Reveals How Much God Is Worth to Us
Verse nine says we should use our worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Your wealth doesn’t have to be pointless for eternity. When you give to God, you are saying that you desire God above everything else. That’s why Jesus ends the parable with verse thirteen:
Luke 16:13 No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
Generosity Gets You Welcomed Into Heaven
There’s one more powerful lesson hidden in verse nine. Living generously toward God will result in a special welcome in heaven. On the other hand, spending your money only on yourself will lead to regret in the future. This is why Jesus says:
Matthew 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
The condition of our hearts can be gauged by what we desire. If your treasures are in this world, so is your heart, and if your heart is in this world, it can’t be with God in his.
Start thinking differently about your money. Be shrewd and look at the eternal picture. Whether in small ways or big ways, Jesus’s followers should be contributing toward the work of God’s kingdom.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- Everything we have is a gift from God. What does this mean about how we should spend our resources, time, and energy?
- Read 1 Timothy 6:9. How can seeking wealth and material gain lead us toward destruction? Have you seen this happen in your life or in the lives of people you know?
- Read Luke 6:13. Why can’t we serve both God and money at the same time?
- Read Matthew 6:21. How does what we desire most (God, family, money, drugs) reflect the spiritual trajectory we are following? Share a real-life example if you have one.
- Do your giving and serving habits reflect the truths discussed in this topic? If not, what can you do to be better?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.