Work Your System

Big Idea:  What we do with our life, time, energy and possessions now will determine what we will be doing in our eternal future.

 

ScriptureHe also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions.  And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ Luke 16:1-2 ESV

 

And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.  I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.Luke 16:3-7 ESV

 

The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. Luke 16:8 ESV

 

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. Luke 16:9 ESV

 

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?  Luke 16:10-12 ESV

 

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Luke 16:13 ESV

 

This is one of Jesus’ most difficult stories. It focuses on a rich man, who could well be a picture of God, and his slave, whom he’d entrusted with management of his resources. That slave, who was conniving and crooked, is used as an example of both, wise and unholy Christians.

Believers are often referred to as “slaves (“doulos” used 150 times in the Bible) of God”. Because of our British connotations of slavery, the word is usually translated, servant, bond-slave or worker. The accurate translation of doulos is slave, and it corresponds to the word Kurios, translated as Lord or Master. “Paul, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ…” Romans 1:1 NKJV

 

A slave in Bible days was owned by his master and was not paid for his work. They were not their own because they were bought with a price. Often a slave would be considered part of the family. They would never have to worry about their place to sleep, what to eat, or about paying any bills — they were fully in the care of their Master. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB

We should see ourselves, as Paul did, as slaves of God, but thankfully, from Jesus’ perspective, we are his friends;  “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.  John 15:15 NASB

 

Four applications of Jesus’ parable:

 

  1. People of the world, are often wiser than Christians in that they fully use their system.

The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. The world system is me centered and uses everything in its disposal to gain more for “me”. The Kingdom of God is God centered and everything is done for the glory of God — then those who belong to the Kingdom receive all the blessings promised by Jesus.

 

For example, this is how the Kingdom of God works:

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 KJV

 

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:10-11  NASB

 

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14 NASB

 

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most-High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.  “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36 NASB

 

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.  “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”  Luke 6:37-38 ESV

 

  1. Use material wealth to strengthen friendships, where the true value of life lies. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

 

  1. The way in which we fulfill small responsibilities is the best proof that we will be able to handle bigger responsibilities. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own.”

 

  1. A slave cannot serve two masters. No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

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