A Quick Scheme
February 18, 2022
We all know of some very rich people. Some obtained their riches through valid means, such as an inheritance or through just plain hard and legitimate work; others, received their riches through shrewdness and lies, schemes and plots. This is the case of the unjust steward that Jesus speaks of in Luke 16:1-8.
A steward, as we know, is one who has been entrusted to take care of and manage the goods of someone else. In the passage, all is going apparently well with the steward. He has a respectable title and honor within the community and his standard of living is one that could be admired. That is until his master hears of an accusation brought against the steward wasting his master’s goods. He had been stealing and cheating all along, and the master tells him, “You can no longer be steward.”
Now, the steward, having been fired, he stands in jeopardy of losing everything; his respect within the community; his good title and his accustomed standard of living. And, talking with himself, he asks, “What shall I do? I cannot dig. I am ashamed to beg!” The thought of being reduced to manual labor is beyond him. Of course, he has the option to confess and tell the truth, but he does not even consider that. He chooses instead to devise and craft a quick scheme to protect himself. People will go to great distances to protect their reputation, honor and status.
Evidently, the owner has given the steward some time to get the books in order and up to date before he leaves so that he can transfer things to the new boss/manager. So, the steward now executes his scheme. He called the master’s debtors in, one-by-one, and quickly reduced their debt and makes a deal with them; ensnaring them in his scheme. The steward who was seeking to be “received into their homes” has found a way to do so. The debtors knew what they owed, but he quickly reduced their bill and offered them a deal. And they went along with his unrighteous scheme.
Luke 16:8 says, “So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.” The scripture is by no means commending manipulation, swindling and unrighteous acts by anyone. But it is commending that the man had a plan and we too, as sons of light, through righteousness and holiness should be clever and wise in our earthly dealings with finances and every area of life. However, our focus is always to be towards the eternal; being faithful in whatever God has committed to our stewardship. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
This article was first published in The Omaha Star (Vol.84 – No.4) – February 18, 2022
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