by Rayola Kelley
Q: Could you clear up my confusion by explaining to me the parable of the unwise steward in Luke 16:1-913? It appears as if Christ is complimenting the wicked steward for being dishonest.
A: This is one parable I have struggled with, but writer and teacher William MacDonald gave the best explanation I have ever heard about it in his book on discipleship. Jesus is trying to bring contrast to His own disciples as to responsible stewardship. He is using the unjust steward, who represents the wisdom of the world, to show how a good steward will use the necessary means to secure his or her future. Granted, the unwise steward used his master’s goods to secure his future well-being by making friends who would watch out for him when he no longer had employment, but he understood the necessity of taking the required action to do so.
Jesus was trying to challenge His disciples as to the type of investment they were making in regards to His kingdom. Many of God’s stewards end up living for this present world instead of preparing for their eternal habitation. They have been given everything from their master’s hand to invest into His kingdom as a means to secure a habitation in the next world, but many fail to be faithful to use such investments in a proper way.
Since unfaithful stewards misuse what others have entrusted to them, they will not personally be entrusted with greater riches. Of course, such riches will be given in the next life to those who prove to be faithful stewards.
The challenge is quite clear. People of the world understand that they must take the necessary steps to secure their future, but some of God’s servants fail to see the need to prepare for their future habitation by making the necessary eternal investments as faithful, responsible stewards of God.