So Jesus tells a parable about this guy who was a manager of a rich man’s possessions. (You can look it up in Luke16:1-9.) The manager was doing a bad job, so the rich man decided to fire him. Panicked about being without a job, he called in the people who owed money to his boss and reduced all their debts. He did this in an effort to make friends with them so they would “owe him one” and help him out later.
What do you think about this manager?
How about “shrewd”?
Jesus says his ex-boss actually commended him for his “shrewdness”. Yes, it is supposed to shock us. And Jesus continues: “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light” (v.8). Ouch.
Jesus’ point is simple: the unbelievers are better at using stuff than believers. They see the value of stuff on a worldly level and make the most of it. As people of light, we need to be more shrewd about how we see our stuff.
But Jesus isn’t done yet. “Make friends for yourself by means of unrighteous wealth so that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings”(v.9).
It’s not about “buying your way into Heaven,” but about using your stuff in a way that shows you’re already there. It’s about living as if all the promises of God to provide for and watch over us are true.
It’s Jesus’ way of telling us to use the stuff of this world with an eternal view in mind. That’s radical stewardship–dealing with worldly stuff in a Kingdom way. Radical stewardship is simply a response to God’s love for us.
Radical stewardship sees all our stuff as a gift from God. It recognizes that as stuff it will all break, wear out and eventually be gone. Radical stewardship uses, shares and gives stuff away, trusting in God’s goodness and His leading. It doesn’t separate “mine” and “God’s,” but prays, “God use mine as Yours” and then trusts in Him to show us what that means and how to actually do it each day.
Radical stewardship is “shrewd” because it uses stuff for eternal as well as worldly purposes. When we use our stuff to bless other people, through sharing it, loaning it or giving it to them, we show that people are more important than stuff. We are saying, “God has given to me and so I can give to you.” Rather than do it out of fear for our future, like the manager in the parable, we do it out of gratitude to a God who has, does and always will provide for us. It is a worldly witness to the eternal goodness of our Heavenly Father.
Next week we’ll look at what it means to live by the treasure truth. In the meantime, here’s your challenge for the week:
1) Pray, asking God to show you how to manage the things He has given you in a way that reflects trust and faith in His goodness.
2) Fill in the blanks: “Being a radical steward means I could use or share or give ______________ (worldly thing) with/to _______________ (person) as a tangible way of showing God’s love.”