THE UNJUST STEWARD
I. Background of the Parable
a. Jesus has just explained in 3 parables that God searches for and rejoices over repentant sinners.
b. Now, in the midst of the Pharisees, scribes & crowd, he addresses his disciples, :1.
a. The Pharisees were self righteous and put great emphasis on the proper way of conduct. They were careful to avoid
all contact with people they considered to be sinners. Using a story about unjust actions to illustrate a lesson about
future planning was probably repulsive to them. Likely they focused on the misuse of trust by the steward instead of
the lesson Jesus was teaching.
2. Definitions/Cultural Insights
a. Steward: one who manages his employers business, a business manager.
b. Wasting: using improperly, squandering, as in Lk 15.
c. Unjust: unrighteous, morally wrong.
d. Commended: praised, applauded.
e. Acting wisely (shrewdly): acting prudently; taking thoughtful action.
II. Understanding the Parable
1. The master had received information that his steward was wasting his resources, and decided to terminate his employment.
2. Upon learning that he was losing his employment, the steward made plans for his future, using
the responsibility entrusted to him to arrange future security.
3. The steward was commended by his master for acting wisely (shrewdly) because he:
a. Considered what he could not and would not do in the future, :3.
b. Considered what he needed and what he could do, :3.
c. Considered how others would respond, :4.
d. Acted promptly, blessing others in the present, to be blessed in the future, :5-7.
4. Jesus clarified "acting wisely" for the disciples as being:
a. Trustworthy in the little things/with money, :10-11.
b. Concerned with eternal dwellings/true riches, :9,11.
C, Loving, devoted to & serving God, :13.
5. It is not good to be dishonest or to cheat your employer for your
own gain. Jesus declared him an unjust
steward, who acted wisely from a worldly perspective. He made it clear that what it means to act
wisely as a disciple of Christ is what is important here. He used a vivid example, easily
understood, about planning, to make plain the importance of planning for our
III. Consideration and Application of the Parable
1. Plan… for your future
The steward made plans that would bring him blessings in his future in this life. What is important about planning for our
future? What does the loss of work responsibility for the steward represent for us? When do we lose our opportunity
to work for future reward? (When we die, our opportunity for making plans for the future is ended.)
2. Plan WISELY… use your resources properly
The steward used his responsible position so as to secure future blessings. His master complimented him for wise planning.
The way we use our opportunities is a test to see if we are worthy of being trusted with true riches. Why should we be
trusted with the gospel if we cannot be trusted to use our money properly? What is meant by sons of this world and sons
of light? How are the sons of this world more likely to plan for their future in this life than the sons of light to plan for their
future in eternity? (It is very common for people to make plans for this life, but Christians often forget the importance for
making plans for eternity.) What are the things you have been given to use in this life? Are you using these things in a
way to preach Jesus Christ?
3. Bless Others… in your plans
The steward forgave the debts of his master’s debtors to secure blessings for himself. We can use our opportunities in such a
way as to help people receive forgiveness of their debt of sin so that they can enter the eternal home with God. Paul tells of the need to send preachers so that people can hear and believe in Jesus, Rom 10:14-15. When we use our resources to teach the gospel,we are making friends who can welcome us into eternal dwellings. What opportunity and responsibility do you have to teach the gospel to the lost? Would you like to have many friends welcome you into your eternal dwelling place?
4. Choose the Eternal… not the temporary
Make a decision about what is important. Are we going to go for money or for eternal blessings. If we want eternal blessings,
we should use our resources for eternity. We should use our opportunities to teach people Jesus, by teaching them ourselves
or by sending others to teach. What are you willing to give in order to bring others to Jesus? We must not have a divided
loyalty between Jesus and money, Mt 6:19-20.
5. Listen… to hard lessons
The Pharisees were offended because of the way Jesus taught. They probably thought it wrong to use a story about misuse
of money and trust to teach a positive lesson. How do you feel about Jesus using an example of unjust action to teach a
spiritual lesson? (Jesus made a clear distinction between planning for this life, “sons of this world” compared with “sons of
light.” Obviously what would be wise from a worldly view is different from what would be wise from an eternal view.
IV. Memory Verse - Lk 16:9