Shrewd Followers Invited
8The 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.9And 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 16:8-9
One of the parables I have struggled with most is the parable of the unrighteous steward in Luke 16. I suggest you read the entire parable. Jesus clearly commends a dishonest manager of a rich man’s possessions for his shrewdness. How can this be?
Culturally, the word shrewd has a negative connotation implying some sort of trickery or craftiness. Why would Jesus commend this man? Well, notice Jesus never commended the sinful actions but the manager’s shrewdness. So what is shrewdness and why would Jesus commend it? Shrewd in the Greek language has the connotation of being forward looking. This man evaluated the future well. He saw a future without a job. He knew of his inability or unwillingness to do the work. So he acted in the moment in light of that coming day without a job. This is being shrewd; looking forward. How he chose to act was wrong, but his forward thinking was to be commended.
Shrewd is translated in Matthew 7:24 as wise. “Everyone who hears these words and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” It is not the popular word for wisdom in the Greek but can be translated wise.
The idea of this word is to be wise, mature, forward thinking in how we live today. Know what tomorrow will bring and live in light of that today—that is being shrewd. In this parable, Jesus is showing His disciples that people of the world are more shrewd than His followers. How sad is that? We of all people know the future. We know Christ is returning soon. And we know who wins.
I have a Martin Luther quote on my wall that has rocked my world, “There are two days in my calendar: this day and that day.” Beloved, are you shrewd in living this day in light of the absolute fact of that day? The church must wake up and stop wasting so much energy, time, and resources and get intensely focused on sold-out living this day in light of that soon-coming day. This is what Luke 16 tells us our Master commends. Live today as a shrewd disciple for His glory! —Doug Helmer
· If I am honest with myself, do I live in light of what I know to be the future?
· How can I tell?
Prayer – Almighty Father in heaven, thank You for the reminders that when I came to You in faith through Your Son, I didn’t leave my brain at the door. You commend me when I live in light of the future. Forgive me for living as a short-sighted follower, and help me by Your Holy Spirit live with Your victory and heaven in mind. In Jesus’ name, Amen.