Reading for Monday, March 26: Luke 16
This chapter begins with a parable that is a bit more difficult to apprehend: the parable of the shrewd manager. It’s important to remember that not every action is commended in every story Jesus tells. Jesus certainly isn’t holding up dishonesty as a virtue of the Kingdom of God. This manager isn’t commended for his dishonesty; he is commended for his shrewdness (v8). He exercises discernment regarding his future fate, shrewdly taking the necessary steps to secure his future position. This is the commendable part of his character. I like the ESV Study Bible note here: “In contrast to the manager, Jesus’ disciples must not use their money unrighteously, but like the manager they must use their money in such a way that they prepare for their future life.”
v10 stands out to me: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much…”. The Lord honors faithfulness in stewardship, influence, and energy, dispensing more to those who honor Him. When we’re faithful in financial generosity, even when we have little, God always gives more. When we’re faithful regarding our influence, even when we barely have any, God always gives more. If we faithfully manage our time, God always seems to open up even more opportunities for us. Stewardship and faithfulness are emphasized in this chapter.
The chapter closes with another parable: the rich man and Lazarus. In contrast to the shrewd manager, the rich man fails to exercise discernment toward the future. In eternity, he longs for the fate of Lazarus. In yet another example of fortunes being reversed, Lazarus enjoys the bounty of Abraham’s bosom while the rich man suffers in Hades. The parable ends with a grim reminder of the importance of discernment. “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead (v31),” reminiscent of another Lazarus whose resurrection did not fully convince others.