Luke 16 Unjust Steward, Rich and Poor
Summary

Chapter sixteen begins with a parable of a steward caught wasting the goods of his master. When the master required accountability, the steward went to the master’s debtors and reduced their obligations so they would take him in when he was fired. The steward is commended for his shrewdness, but he was unfaithful to his master. The Pharisees ridiculed Jesus for what He said, but they were simply justifying themselves. Jesus then told of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus who died. In the afterlife, their roles were reversed. The rich man asked that the beggar be sent back to warn his brothers, but he was told that if they would not hear God’s word, they would not be persuaded by Lazarus’ returning.

The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

16He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6He said, ‘A hundred measures[1] of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures[2] of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world[3] are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth,[4] so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

Question 1

What is a steward and why is faithfulness required of stewards?

Question 2

What four general lessons should we learn from this parable? (vs. 8, 9, 10, 13).

10“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 13No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

The Law and the Kingdom of God

14The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

16“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.[5] 17But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

Divorce and Remarriage

18“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

Question 3

What does Jesus say concerning divorce and remarriage?

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side.[6] The rich man also died and was buried, 23and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— 28for I have five brothers[7]—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Question 4

Why did the rich man go to “torments” after his death?

Question 5

What do all of us need to realize from this Scripture about life before and after death?

People
  • A rich man
  • Absentee landlord

  • An unfaithful steward
  • The Pharisees
  • A rich man
  • He dies and goes to torment

  • A beggar
  • He dies and goes to Abraham’s bosom

Places
  • Locations are not specified

The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

16He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6He said, ‘A hundred measures[1] of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures[2] of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world[3] are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth,[4] so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

Luke 16:1

A steward is one who oversees something for another as a foreman or hired manager might.


Luke 16:2

A stewardship might involve oversight of persons, property, money, etc.


Luke 16:6

There are two immediate effects of the steward’s having the debtors change their invoices:

It would make the debtors grateful and thus they would be inclined to take care of him later;

It would involve the debtors in the crime thus reducing the chance of his being held responsible.


Luke 16:8

Notice, he did not commend his evil. He commended only his forethought providing for future. Men of the world often use better judgment in material affairs than Christians do in spiritual.


Luke 16:9

Unrighteous mammon refers to the physical wealth one has in this world. The point seems to be that we should use what we have to help others who will bless us for it.

For ways Jesus teaches us to use our resources/money see Luke 12:33 and Matthew 6:19-21.

10“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 13No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Luke 16:10

The evil steward was not faithful to his master and would no longer be trusted.


Luke 16:13

The evil steward could not serve his own special interests and the Master too.

The Law and the Kingdom of God

14The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

16“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.[5] 17But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

Divorce and Remarriage

18“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

Luke 16:18

Other passages on divorce and remarriage:

Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side.[6] The rich man also died and was buried, 23and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— 28for I have five brothers[7]—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Luke 16:19

The rich man was apparently self-indulgent and did not care about those less fortunate.


Luke 16:22

All men die – both rich and poor – and there is a conscious existence afterward.

“Abraham’s bosom” represents the place where righteous are taken to rest with the faithful.


Luke 16:23

The term Hades (in the Old Testament it is “Sheol”) describes the condition in which both righteous (Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:27) and unrighteous (Job 24:19; Luke 16:23) exist after death while earth and time continue before final judgment. Torment is obviously a place of suffering.


Luke 16:25

Notice the emphasis upon one’s lifetime – we must prepare while we have life, not after death.


Luke 16:26

In the afterlife, there is a clear separation between the existence of comfort and torment.

Perspectives

We should use our earthly resources to secure heavenly treasures and do good for others.

We should take seriously Jesus’ teaching on divorce and remarriage and secure our marriages.

We should listen to God’s word while we have life and make adjustments before it is too late.