총 게시물 412건, 최근 1 건

The Unrighteous Steward

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2017-09-26 (화) 19:59 조회 : 38
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설교일 : 2017.09.24.
설교자 : Rev. Shin
본문말씀 : Luke 16:1~9

September 24, 2017

 

“The Unrighteous Steward”

Luke 16:1-9

 

Rev. Taegyu Shin’s Sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

Today’s passage is one of the most difficult to understand parables of Lord Jesus. I want us to meditate upon this parable more intensively and try to find out the original meaning implied in this parable.

 

There are two characters in this parable; a rich man who is the owner, and his manager. This rich man seems to have a vast fortune and many properties. He hired this manager to manage this particular property, while he lives elsewhere, as he did not realize that the manager was wasting his possessions, until now.

 

He called the manager and asked, “What is this I hear about you?” The owner was not eager to prosecute or kick him out immediately, but was willing to hear the manager’s excuse.

 

He demanded to see the account book and gave him the notice that he would no longer be the manager. We get the impression that the owner is more upset about the manager betraying his trust than losing his money.

 

The second character to appear is the manager and steward, who is like a CEO in today’s world. His job is managing the properties with professional expertise.

 

Therefore, we can assume this steward was hardworking when he was hired. But now, he is accused of wasting the owner’s money. We don’t know the details of this mismanagement, but we assume that he is guilty, as he does not offer any explanation or excuse.

 

Instead of asking for forgiveness from the owner, or regretting his wrongdoings and failures, this steward is only worried about his own future after his discharge. He thinks as if he is a victim and worries about what he can do; not strong enough to dig, and too ashamed to beg.

 

Not only this steward failed in his job, but he also failed in relationships, as there is no one he can lean on and ask for favor. Strangely there is no mention of his family, and he is only worried about himself.

 

It is very hard for us to feel any sympathy for this steward. He finally hit upon one idea to make himself welcome into the homes of his master’s debtors.

 

What is his strategy? He decided to call those debtors and write off some of their debts without the owner’s knowledge. Then the debtors will be grateful and welcome him into their homes. So he called in each of his master’s debtors and asked, “How much do you owe my master?” By his question, we can tell already this steward was careless in his job and didn’t take good care of the accounts. When the first debtor replied, “Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,” the steward told him to change the bill to four hundred gallons. The original amount was about $10,000.00 in today’s value and he cancelled $5,000.00 of the debt.

 

The second debtor owed thousand bushels of wheat and this steward told him to change the bill to eight hundred bushels. He only cancelled 20% of the debt, but the original amount was about $100,000.00, so he cancelled $20,000.00 of the debt.

 

<Question 1>

We are confused at the amount of debts the steward cancelled, as the amount varies for each debtor. Our conclusion is that he just cancelled the amounts on impulse, both of them big enough amount for them to be impressed and to feel indebted to him. This shows how he got into trouble in the first place, by being impulsive.

 

How did he let the debtors know that he was the one who was doing them the favor, not the owner? He said, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred”, and by this statement, the debtors became aware of the illegal transaction initiated by the steward.

 

<Question 2>

Now, Lord Jesus brings out the owner. What will the owner do? Will he put him in jail or at least kick him out immediately? No, this parable does not unfold that way; the owner praises the steward!!!!

 

The owner knew that the steward was dishonest, but he commended that the steward acted shrewdly, and but the only thing he did was to cancel some portions of debts for the debtors.

 

The owner was praising that the steward did right for himself, for he now had friends among the debtors after canceling their debts and they would be helpful to him in the future.

 

We cannot understand this point of view, and we are sure His disciples didn’t understand it either. I think Lord Jesus was using this inscrutable metaphor to emphasize two things; in verse 8, He says that the people of the world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than the people of light, and in verse 9, He says that we should use worldly wealth to gain friends so that when it is gone, we will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

 

What is shrewd about today’s people? The Christians and also unbelievers certainly know how to take care of themselves in crisis.

 

<Why did the owner praise the steward?>

We think the steward was immoral because he gained friends by cheating the owner’s properties, and we cannot understand why the owner would be pleased with him. But when we meditate upon this parable of Jesus, we come to the conclusion that He was referring the owner as God and the steward as all of us. Now, we cannot disparage this steward so much.

 

<Why should we make friends?>

The owner, God Himself, does not think that the loss of His possessions is a big deal. Instead, He thinks that the steward’s action of cancelling the debts of the debtors was a wise investment for his future, for the steward now has friends to depend on.

 

Is this parable a good news for us? Was Jesus right in advising us to use our wealth to gain friends for ourselves?

Every day we hear about the looming financial crisis and we strive to do our best to pay for our living expenses. We feel that right now we cannot afford to gain friends by helping others in financial trouble, and maybe later when we have more money, we will try to help others. But, will we really do it?

 

When I first arrived in U.S., I received one email from an old man, which even had his picture. In the letter he explains that he is a Christian living in another country and because of his health concerns he is writing this letter on the advice of his lawyers. He says he has a large fortune, which he wants to turn over to me, on the condition that I spend the fortune for the kingdom of God. Of course I was skeptical a little bit, but I was hooked on the idea. I began to think of ways to spend the money for the kingdom of God; I could help many churches and Christian organizations that were suffering financial difficulty.

 

But as the days went by, I began to insert my own needs into the list of the names of churches and organization I was going to help. As I was a seminary student at that time, I needed the tuition money, and then other things for my study including a house for my family to stay. Soon my own needs exceeded the amount promised in the letter, as my greed took over me.

 

On top of this, I felt that I could not trust anyone with that big money, so I could not consult anyone about this money, until the next email arrived asking me to pay for his lawyers’ expense to transfer the big money to me. This email woke me up from my fantasy and made me realize that this was all fake and a scam to exploit unsuspecting people. I have also realized that having money does not help in gaining friends, but it deters people from forming friendship.

 

The problem is not the amount of money, but our attitude toward money. Instead of using the money for our purposes, we worship the money, as we are in awe of money.

 

We should do what Lord Jesus advises us; we should act shrewdly and not waste money for our greed, but for gaining friends.

 

There is one person who never fails to use his money to gain friends. Who is this person? Who is most popular among Christians and non-Christians alike? Some say he is more popular than Lord Jesus, and this person is Santa Claus.

 

Anyone who has ever received a gift from Santa Claus will eventually become a Santa Claus to others by spending his own money, as he wants to see his own children and those he loves experience the same happiness that he had.

 

Certainly our wealth will disappear after we are gone, but the memory of our shared love will linger on.

 

Today’s parable also reflects the situation the Christians faced at the time of Luke. As they were being persecuted, the Christians needed friends and neighbors who would shelter them and help them. The friends in the world were helping Christians hide from the Romans and their persecutions.

 

The message from this parable is still valid in today’s world and in our work for the kingdom of God. At present we have the freedom to attend churches, but there is no guarantee for that in every part of the world.

 

Even in U.S., the freedom to pray in a public place is being limited and the freedom to evangelize to anyone is also being compromised, in the name of fairness to all religions.

 

In other parts of the world, spreading the Gospel is forbidden by their law and that means the door of salvation is being shut to those living in darkness. By leading them out of darkness with the good news of Gospel, we become the instruments of their salvation and also we gain friends.

 

All the resources that have been entrusted to you should be used to gain friends, then you will find the kingdom of God and be able to expand it.

 


   

총 게시물 412건, 최근 1 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
412 2017.10.22.  행복하여라: 의를 위하여 핍박받는 자여 마태복음 5:10~12 장찬영 목사
411 2017.10.15.  The Story of a Father's Wasted Love Luke 15:11-24 Rev. Kwon
410 2017.10.15.  낭비된 아버지의 사랑 이야기 누가복음 15:11~24 권태홍 목사
409 2017.10.08.  Like Father, Like Son Ephesians 2:1-8 Rev. Joseph Kim
408 2017.10.01.  'Blessings to the Peacemakers' Matthew 5:9 Rev. Jang
407 2017.10.01.  행복하여라: 화평케 하는 자여 마태복음 5:9 장찬영 목사
406 2017.09.24.  The Unrighteous Steward Luke 16:1~9 Rev. Shin
405 2017.09.24.  불의한 청지기 누가복음 16:1~9 신태규 목사
404 2017.09.17.  'Blessed are the pure in heart' Matthew 5:8 Rev. Jang
403 2017.09.17.  행복하여라: 마음이 청결한 자여 마태복음 5:8 장찬영 목사
402 2017.09.10.  'Blessings to those who are merciful' Matthew 5:7 Rev. Jang
401 2017.09.10.  행복하여라: 긍휼이 여기는 자여 마태복음 5:7 장찬영 목사
400 2017.09.03.  'Blessings to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness' Matthew 5:6 Rev. Jang
399 2017.09.03.  행복하여라: 의에 주리고 목 마른자여 마태복음 5:6 장찬영 목사
398 2017.08.27.  'Blessings to those who are meek' Matthew 5:5 Rev. Jang
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : 행복하여라: 의를 위하여 핍박받는 자여
설교일 : 2017.10.22.
본문말씀 : 마태복음 5:10~12
설교자 : 장찬영 목사

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