“If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be be honest with greater responsibility. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of Heaven?”
in Luke 16, Jesus tells us an interesting story about a rich man who was unhappy with the way his manager had been dealing with his wealth. The rich man told his manager that he was going to be fired because he had been wasteful with his money. With no other options for a new job after being fired, the manager sought to make alliance’s with his master debtors, so shrewdly discounted their debts, and sent them on their way. Much to our surprise, and probably to the disciples and Pharisees surprise, who were listening to this story, the rich man commends his shrewd (wise, prudent) manager! So what does this ironic story mean for us?
Well, Jesus in verse 9 partly reveals the lesson in saying this, “Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone they will welcome you to an eternal home!” In verse 8, Jesus too affirms the managers actions and says that the ‘children of light’ (a phrase referring to His disciples), could also learn from the managers shrewdness. Perhaps what Jesus is simply saying is that the master, “instead of simply being a victim of circumstance (although brought upon himself) transforms a bad situation into one that benefits him and others”1; Perhaps he was making amends for his foolishness and wanted to honour his masters business by pulling back the debt.
Yet the key verses in understanding what this really means is found in verses 10-11. Jesus goes on to say that in everything we have or do, we should be faithful and make the best out of it in order that we might gain greater responsibilities. In other words, use what you have (both worldly and spiritual resources), in whatever circumstance you are in, however large or small, to benefit and extend the Kingdom of God and honour Him in all you do. In all things, we should make God and His Kingdom our priority and not worldly wealth for self gain.
1http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1783, bracketed words added.