Morning Bible Study
Daniel Grant Ordination
Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just
at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.
16:1-8 The Unjust Steward
:1 He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a
steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his
:1 who had a steward
a steward – oikonomos – the manager of household or
of household affairs; a steward, manager, superintendent
The word is built on two words: “house” + “law”. The steward was the one enforced the house
He was in charge of overseeing all that went on under his charge, whether
it was paying bills, making investments, or even raising children.
He is not the “owner” of the property, there is one higher than he is who
owns the house.
Paul talked a little about being a “steward” when he wrote,
4:1–2 NKJV) —1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the
mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
Sometimes you read stories about a movie star, like
Shannen Doherty, who had to sue
her business manager. Her manager
didn’t pay her insurance premiums, and because she didn’t have insurance for a
period of time, her breast cancer went undetected.
The most important thing when it comes to entrusting
someone else with your “stuff” is whether or not they are “faithful”.
Can they be depended upon?
Can they be depended on to do what the owner wishes?
:1 this man was wasting his goods
This guy will be called the “unjust steward” because of how he initially literally
threw his boss’ money away.
:2 So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give
an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’
:2 Give an account of your stewardship
The boss is asking the steward to turn in his books. His job is finished.
:3 “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master
is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg.
:3 I cannot dig … am ashamed to beg
This guy was not strong enough to handle a physical job, and he was too
proud to beg for a living.
:4 I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship,
they may receive me into their houses.’
:4 I have resolved what to do
The Greek carries the idea that “suddenly” the idea hits the guy. The lightbulb goes off in his head.
:5 “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said
to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
:6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your
bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’
:6 A hundred measures of oil
This debtor owed the master 800 gallons of olive oil.
Olive oil was used for many things, but one of the main things was to fill
your oil lamps and give you light at night.
The steward gives the debtor permission to cut his bill in half.
How would you feel if someone gave you permission to cut your bills in
:7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A
hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write
:7 A hundred measures of wheat
This next debtor owed the master the equivalent of 1,000 bushels of wheat.
:7 Take your bill, and write eighty
This second debtor was allowed to take 20% off of his bill.
As steward, this man had the authority to negotiate his master’s debt. He
had the ability to make a deal with a debtor and lower the amount that they
Sometimes a bank, the IRS, or a credit card company will negotiate with you
to lower what you owe just so they get something out of you.
Yes, the steward is hurting his master, but I don’t think he’s doing
anything illegal. He is using what was still legitimately at his disposal,
using the position of his job to endear himself to these people who owed his
master so they would help him out later.
:8 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.
:8 commended the unjust steward
When Jesus calls this man “unjust”, it’s because of how he had earlier
“wasted” his master’s goods.
When he adjusted the bills, he was just being smart.
:8 the sons of this world are more shrewd
Sometimes non-Christians do things a little smarter than we do when it
comes to money.
Use your head
Utilize tax deductions
Every once in a while, I run across someone who tells me that they only
give cash to the church or other charities so their giving can be as anonymous
The reason I’m often given is that Jesus told us to give
in secret so as not to give to impress others.
Yet the law allows (so far) that if you give money to a registered
charitable organization, then you can deduct that amount from your income when
it comes time to figure out how much money to pay in taxes on April 15.
If the government will allow you pay less money in taxes,
which would leave you more money in your pocket to do even more for the kingdom
of God, why wouldn’t you do that?
And as far as giving in “secret”, when you give to most
organizations, there are only a few people who know how much you give, and in
our case it’s the folks who will process your tax receipts at the end of the
16:9-12 Steward Lessons
Jesus is now going to take this story of the “unjust steward” and give it a
:9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon,
that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.
The unjust steward made some friends on that last day of work by how he used
the money that was still at his disposal.
He did it so that these new “friends” might consider bringing him into
their home after he is finally booted from his current job.
:9 unrighteous mammon
“Mammon” is another term for money or wealth.
Money can be at times a cause of “unrighteousness”, the “mammon of
unrighteousness”. It can cause trouble.
A husband and wife were attending a county fair where, for five dollars per
person, a man was giving rides on an old biplane. The couple wanted to go up but they thought
the price was too steep. Consequently, they tried to negotiate a lower
price. “We’ll pay you five dollars for
both of us,” they said to the pilot.
“After all, we’ll both have to squeeze into that tiny cockpit that was
built for only one person.” The pilot
refused to lower his price, but he made a counter-offer. He said to the couple, “Pay me the full price
of ten dollars and I’ll take you up. And
if you don’t say one word during the flight, I’ll give you all your money
back.” The couple agreed and got into
the plane. Up they went and the pilot
proceeded to perform every trick he knew, looping and whirling and flying
upside down and lots more. Finally, when
the plane had landed, the pilot said to the husband, “Congratulations! Here’s your ten dollars; you didn’t say a
single word.” To which the man replied,
“Nope, but I almost did when my wife fell out.”
(1 Timothy 6:9–10
NKJV) —9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare,
and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction
and perdition. 10
the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some
have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through
with many sorrows.
It’s not money itself that’s evil, but the “love of” money that leads to
:9 make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon
Helping the debtors
The people that the unjust steward worked with were “debtors”.
They owed something to the Master.
Do you realize that people you know have a debt toward God?
Every person owes God a debt, because our own sin has heaped a huge debt on
us that we are unable to repay.
God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die for us, and in dying
for us He paid our debt.
We have the ability to help people become right with God when we share the
gospel with them and help them to know Him like we do.
The gospel is best shared by someone who is a “friend”.
You and I have resources available to us – it might be
money, time, abilities, connections, relationships.
God wants us to learn to leverage those resources to build
bridges with unbelievers so we would have the opportunity to show them Jesus.
:9 when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home
The unjust steward would one day be out on the street looking for a new
For us, we will one day “fail” in that our bodies will die.
Wouldn’t it be cool to be met in heaven by people that we had the
opportunity to influence and come to know Jesus through the way we used our
Leverage your assets
Jesus is saying that we believers ought to learn from the unjust steward by
using the money at our disposal to influence people, to “make friends”.
I think that at times we can get the idea that money itself is something
that “spiritual” Christians don’t need to deal with.
But here, Jesus is telling us that we need to learn wisdom over how we
handle our money.
The idea is not that a person’s way into heaven can be “bought”. The idea
is that money can be used wisely in a way that will work towards people coming
into the kingdom.
There are smart ways to use your money and there are dumb ways.
Giving money to the guy holding the sign up at the freeway off ramp might
not be the smartest way to use your money.
If you really want to help the guy, take him to McDonalds,
buy him lunch, and sit and talk to the fellow.
:10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in
much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
:10 faithful in what is least is faithful also in much
What we have here is a secret to promotion in God’s kingdom.
Faithful in the least
Sometimes you just need to start small and go from there.
least – elachistos –
smallest least. This is a “superlative” adjective here. Not just “small”, not
just “smaller”, but “smallest”, the “very least”.
Keep working the little things like the baby putting on that boot, and
you’ll go on to the next thing.
Some people get a taste of what it’s like to be used by God, and they have
this notion that they might as well not waste any time and leap to the front of
You can see it in guys who say they feel called to the ministry.
Sometimes what this really means is that they just want to
be up front, behind the microphone, and have people listen to them.
This is one reason why Pastor Chuck used to tell guys like this that if
they wanted to be in the ministry they should go teach a Sunday School class.
This is a primary principle in picking leadership.
Are you a person who can be counted on, not just in “small things”, but in
the “least” things?
If you can’t be counted on to show up on time to help in
the nursery, what makes you think that you are going to be faithful in teaching
a group of adults?
I remember needing to remind myself of this thirty-five
years ago when we had a small Bible Study in our home in Placentia, and
sometimes only 3 or 4 people would show up.
NKJV) Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will
stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.
:11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who
will commit to your trust the true riches?
:11 faithful in the unrighteous mammon
This is another important key to promotion in God’s kingdom.
Can God trust you with His money?
Everything we have is from Him. We are simply stewards of God’s resources.
If you are someone who is always in debt, or who constantly floats from job
to job, don’t be thinking that the ministry is something you should try.
Charles Spurgeon wrote about the kind of men who would come to him and
claim that they were certain that they were called to the ministry
“I have met ten, twenty, a hundred brethren, who have pleaded that they
were sure, quite sure that they were called to the ministry – they were quite
certain of it, because they had failed in everything else…”
He then went on to give an example of a man who said that he started out
working for a lawyer, but when that didn’t work out, he worked at a grocery
store, then life insurance, then selling tea…
He would go on to tell these men, “Yes, I see; you have failed in
everything else, and therefore you think the Lord has especially endowed you
for his service; but I fear you have forgotten that the ministry needs the very
best of men, and not those who cannot do anything else.”
(Lectures to My
If you struggle with handling money properly, set aside your Thursday
nights in the months of January and February, because we will be running Dave
Ramsey’s class: Financial Peace University
The purpose of the class is to help you to get control over your finances.
:12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will
give you what is your own?
:12 faithful in what is another man’s
Faithful to the boss
For years this was a key verse in my life.
When I was eighteen, I felt that God was calling me into the full time
ministry, to be a pastor, a Sr. Pastor. But
it didn’t happen overnight.
For six years I was a Youth pastor at the Baptist
For eight years I was one of the assistant pastors at Calvary
Chapel of Anaheim.
There were times when I wondered if I had heard God right.
And this was the verse that kept hitting me over and over
again. I needed to be the best assistant
I could be. I needed to be faithful in
the vineyard that was my brother’s if I ever expected God to entrust me with my
I remember a particularly tough time at Anaheim when I thought that Pastor
Mark had made a terrible mistake.
Don’t worry. He
But I had a group of friends in the church that didn’t
like a particular decision that Mark had made, and frankly I couldn’t see why
Mark was acting the way he did. I was
very, very close to quitting my job and leaving the church. But I stuck it out. Boy am I glad I did. For me, the lesson wasn’t as much in learning
to trust Mark’s leadership, which was a good lesson too. The main lesson was in learning to be a
faithful helper, someone Mark could count on, someone he could depend on.
I think these are the kinds of things God will test you in are you tell Him
you want to serve Him.
It took me twenty years from when God called me to when I became a Sr.
Be faithful in the things that God has put before you.
Be faithful at work.
Be faithful in your ministry.