Lesson Six – God’s Children are Stewards

God’s Children are Stewards

Lesson Aim:  To show how Christians use God’s possessions in time to attain our own possessions in eternity.

Scripture:  Luke 16:1-12.

For the historical analysis for reading this parable see Lesson Five, except for Jesus’ aim.

Aim:  Jesus stated His aim when He said, “Make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”  Luke 16:9.


An attempt will be made in the presentation of this lesson to hear Jesus challenge Christians about our ineptness in the management of “our stuff” in relation to the “big scene.”  The big scene is a Christian’s “theistic” view of life.  Please review the Introduction of Lesson Five.  This view is inclusive of “the present life and the life to come.”  I Tim. 4:8.  Jesus scolds us in His parable for not living up to our spiritual world view.  Please accept the scolding aspect of this lesson as if it is coming from our Lord.  The challenge of Jesus’ parable is found in the following scripture.

And his master praised the unrighteous steward 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

The “sons of this age” refer to people who live in the timed physical world.  These are people who have a world view that is not totally “theistic,” in fact it is “atheistic” because in the truest sense there is “no fence to sit on” in this matter – people are either theist or atheist.   Jesus said the atheists are “more shrewd” because they use the things under their control to secure their future until their spirit leaves their bodies.

The “sons of light” are Christian people who have been enlightened about both why and how God created us through His Son (John 1:1-4; I Thess. 5:4-6).  We accept the grace of the forgiveness for our sins; therefore, we walk in the light (I John 1:5-9).  The purpose for God’s graces, those based on faith in the cross, are for His people’s growth to the level of “salt and light.” (Matt. 5:13-16; Phil. 2:14-16).  Christians are enlightened about what happened to God’s creation after Adam and Eve broke the covenant He gave them.  The result of our enlightenment is our focus on our hope presented by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Roman Christians.  Please read Rom. 8:18-25.

Jesus’ parable shows how people of the world are ‘more shrewd’ about their security in time than God’s people are about our security in eternity.  Jesus does not recommend the underhanded dealings of this manager.  He is merely making a point by using a parable about a crook.  The master in verse eight is not Jesus; he was the master over the dishonest steward.


After reading the parable let us note a few things about this dishonest steward so we can also appreciate his shrewdness.  Please be aware of the parallel between his position and the things he understood and our Christian position and the things we should understand.

Now He was also saying to the disciples, ‘There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and this steward was reported to him as squandering his possessions.’  Luke 16:1

First of all, he was a steward.  He was in charge of another’s possessions.  There are only two kinds of stewards (Matt. 25:32).  There are good ones (sheep) and bad ones (goats).  He was a goat.  There came a time when he understood that in the near future he would no longer be a steward for this master.  There was a time slot between the time he got the message that his position would soon to be taken away and the day he would no longer be a steward.  Jesus made use of this “slot in time” to develop the purpose of His parable.  Recognizing his future was in jeopardy this steward began to use his present position to make his future more secure.  True, what he did was wrong but we must admit he was shrewd.  Jesus says he was “more shrewd” than “the sons of light.”

How was he shrewd?  First of all, this steward recognized and accepted the fact that his position was about to fail.  He did not try to “hang on” as long as he could, only to face the future with no employment.  He did not procrastinate.  He still had the stewardship and while he had it he used it to secure his future.  He was shrewd in that he knew what he had would not last.  He was shrewd in that he used it while he had it for the security of his future well being.

The dishonest steward did not beg for more time.  He got the message.  He knew his position would soon end.  He did not use his time and energy bemoaning his master’s decision.  He became proactive by using his present influence to secure his future.

And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.   Luke 16:9

The lesson for Christians in this parable is so clearly presented by Jesus that it requires only one comment.  We must humble ourselves to hear Jesus tell us how “children of light” are generally not as shrewd as this crooked steward.  Jesus is challenging Christians to make this energized steward our example for securing our futures.  Let us continue to learn from his proactive example:

I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the stewardship, they will receive me into their homes.  And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’  And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’  And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’  Luke 16:4-6

He did these things because he hoped he would have a comfortable life in this age.  Should Christians not be “more shrewd” in the securing of our eternal dwelling?  The “they” in verse nine refers to Deity – as the word is used in Colossians 2:9.  Christians have faith that God, our Father, has established, anointed and sealed us “in Christ” (II Cor. 1:21, 22).  The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a pledge of our inheritance and a new body (Eph. 1:13, 14; Rom. 8:10, 11).  Jesus has told us He is now preparing a dwelling place for us (John 14:2).  The terms “the eternal dwellings” (v. 9), “the true riches” (v. 11) and “that which is your own” (v. 12) refer to a faithful Christian’s inheritance of eternal life and the kingdom of God.  See Matt. 19:29; 25:34; I Pet. 1:3-5.

If the Scriptures are so clear about a faithful Christian’s future after death, what can be our problem?  Deep down we may still believe this world belongs to mankind and heaven belongs to God.  There is no doubt that God rules both heaven and earth; however, some Christians will inherit the kingdom of God (Eph. 5:5).  To inherit means to receive the thing we inherited for our very own.  This will not happen while we are in this fleshly body, but it will happen for faithful stewards. (I Cor. 15:50).

The Holy Spirit has revealed to us this fact; this world will be extinguished by fire (II Pet. 3:7).  Even if the world should last for a million years, we know our physical lives will fail.  James said, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”  (James 4:14).  Christians can understand these facts from God’s word, and yet Jesus said we are not as shrewd as the dishonest steward.  Jesus challenges us to use God’s “unrighteous mammon” He has put under our charge for awhile to secure our future – a future much more promising than the dishonest steward was maneuvering to obtain.  The Scripture tells us plainly we brought nothing into the world and we will take nothing out of it (I Tim. 6:7).  Jesus may be challenging us to consider our integrity.  People tell the truth when we conform our words to what took place before we spoke.  Christians have integrity when our future behavior conforms to what we speak.  Christians sing and pray a lot about going to heaven after we die.  Jesus has challenged us to transform our stewardship by renewing our minds with His gospel (Rom. 12:2).

If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you?  And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?  Luke 16:11, 12

Money, or mammon, is not the root of all evil.  It can be used to accomplish things to please God.  It can be used to secure food and clothing for our bodies while we are in this world.  It can also be used to secure our souls for the world to come.  It can be used in such a way to gain that which God is willing to give us, that is, the true riches.  Love of money is the root of all evil.  We need to love God because He truly holds our futures in His hand (I Cor. 1:8).  We also need to fear Him because He “has the power to throw you (us) into hell.”  Luke 12:5.

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.  I Tim. 6:10

The only way we can have extra money in our possession, and be happy, is to be stewards over it.  If we try to possess money it will possess us.  Let us be as wise as the dishonest steward.  First we must be fully convinced that our present position will fail.  Then we will want to use our remaining time as a steward to gain what Jesus is preparing for us.  Some of us may not have much worldly possession over which to be stewards.  Ours may not be as great as some but we have something in our charge (Luke 19:20-27).  Little or great, the principle still applies.  We are all equally responsible to use what we have been given by God to use in His mission on earth.  What we have in our hands is His.  Our possessions are in heaven (Luke 16:12; I Pet. 1:4).

He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.   Luke 16:10.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Identify the sons of this age and the sons of light.
  2. What is the main point in Jesus’ parable in our text?
  3. What did Jesus recommend about this steward’s life for Christians?
  4. What were the specific attributes of this person that warranted this recommendation?
  5. How does a Christian’s circumstance parallel this dishonest steward?
  6. Why is it a blessing to be warned in advance about the failure of one’s position?
  7. What should Christians do about the failure of our present position?
  8. List some of the spiritual problems that could keep Christians from using mammon to secure our future.
  9. How is a faithful Christian’s inheritance introduced into Jesus’ parable?
  10. How can Christians possess more money than is required for our physical needs and still live a happy life on earth?

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