2 Samuel 12-13 Luke 16
“Whoever can be trusted with a little can also be trusted with a lot, and whoever is dishonest with a little is dishonest with a lot. If you cannot be trusted with worldly riches, then who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11)
There are some things Jesus taught that I still can’t get through my head. The verses I quoted came just after the strangest parable. This rich guy finds out that his manager is cheating him. So, he fires the manager. The manager, in one last hurrah, cheats him so more so that people will help him once he’s finally out of the rich guy’s house. And Jesus praises the dishonest guy for his shrewdness. Jesus uses the manager as an example of dishonesty in the explanation of trust. If you can’t be trusted with small things, you can’t be trusted with big things. If you can’t be trusted with worldly riches, you can’t be trusted with true riches. Perhaps the only way to understand this parable is understanding the contrast Jesus noted in these verses and His sense of humor. Maybe when Jesus praised the cheating manager, those who watched and heard Him caught what isn’t see through words. “He took care of himself pretty well, didn’t he? But he won’t be trusted to handle the things of God.”
Jesus emphasizes trust in His explanation. The question that we should all ask ourselves as we read this story, and His elaboration is, “Am I trustworthy?” Some people use this as a parable to explain why they’re rich and you’re not. “God trusted me with a little bit. I handled my money well, and now He’s trusted me with a lot.” That could be part of the understanding of this parable. Jesus, though, brushes aside worldly riches to focus on true riches ending with a statement that we all know well: “You can’t serve two masters; you can’t serve both God and worldly riches.” Whether it be praise or worldly riches, Jesus notes that if we seek them, we’ll get them. If worldly riches are our measures of true rewards, we’ll get our reward. But, if we want God to give us our reward, we must be faithful to His call. Jesus praised the dishonesty of the manager because he used the system to support himself. When God trusts us with worldly riches, we can use the system to support ourselves or we can understand the lesson of the manager and find ways to use those riches to advance the Kingdom of God. If you want people to praise you for your accumulation of stuff, you can keep accumulating trinkets and letting the world know how wealthy you are. If you want to gain riches in heaven and praise from God, you’ll find ways to use any worldly riches you gain to advance God’s Kingdom. Be clever with the riches this world gives you and use them to gain something even greater.
Lord, You’ve given me so much in this world. Remind me that because I’ve been given much, You have great expectations of me. Remind me that everything You give me should be used to advance Your kingdom.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.