Let’s read about the parable of the dishonest steward which was mentioned by Jesus in Luke 16:1-13:
1 [Jesus] also said to his disciples, ‘There was a rich man and he had a steward who was denounced to him for being wasteful with his property.
2 He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.”
3 Then the steward said to himself, “Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed.
4 Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.”
5 ‘Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, “How much do you owe my master?”
6 “One hundred measures of oil,” he said. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down and quickly write fifty.”
7 To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat,” he said. The steward said, “Here, take your bond and write eighty.”
8 ‘The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.’
9 ‘And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into eternal dwellings.
10 Anyone who is trustworthy in little things is trustworthy in great; anyone who is dishonest in little things is dishonest in great.
11 If then you are not trustworthy with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches?
12 And if you are not trustworthy with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?
13 ‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’
Jesus was well aware of the sinful behaviors of the people, especially towards the use of money. He knew that some sinners are sly enough to avoid a nasty outcome due to being caught in their sins. However he wanted to highlight that even if a sinner seemingly escapes punishment while on earth, there’s no such escape in the afterlife. No wonder Jesus used this parable to rebuke the love of money which leads to sin and which in turn leads to punishment in hell forever. This is also a calling by Jesus to give up all greed towards money and give up all dishonesty even those that might seem small sins.
Here are a few lessons we can learn from this parable:
- You are accountable for whatever has been entrusted to you, so do not misuse things for you will need to given account for it. For example, this can be money, resources, privileges etc.
- Even while on earth its possible for sinners to be asked by the earthly authorities to give an account for their sins and face the due consequences.
- The eternal consequences of your sin will take you to hell unless you repent in the name of Jesus.
- The children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light. Therefore a child of light must learn to interact in a wise and holy way with another child of light instead of avoiding each other for the sake of it.
- Even if sinners are able to get favorable outcomes in their dealings with fellow sinners, they will only end up increasing their punishment and fellow friends to accompany them in hell.
- Money that is gotten by dishonest means will eventually fail you.
- Anyone who is trustworthy in little things is trustworthy in great; anyone who is dishonest in little things is dishonest in great.
- If then you are not trustworthy with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches?
- And if you are not trustworthy with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?
- No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money
Jesus gave us the parable of Wise and Foolish Builders in Matthew 7:24-27 in which he said the following:
“Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell;and great was the fall of it.”
Jesus in the above parable wants us to understand the importance of both hearing his words and also acting on them. There are people who only hear the words of Jesus but do not act on it. Then we have people who both hear and act on the Word of God. Now, both of these types of people will keep building their life and achievements.
And they will face challenges and tough times as well. Only those who have acted on the words of the Lord Jesus will prevail and those who do not act, will suffer great losses. The most dangerous of such losses is when a person loses his or her soul to the Evil One at the time of death because of not abiding by the Word of God in their thoughts, words and actions.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)
The Parable of the Sower is one my favorite parables of Jesus. It shows how the same type of seed works on different types of ground. Jesus wasn’t talking about farming strategies here. The seed here is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the soil types are indicative of the various conditions of the hearts of the people. In other words it’s how people respond to the Gospel.
Many people do get to hear the Gospel. Yet only some truly bear the fruit they are called to bear out. It’s all because how they choose to respond to the will of God as manifest in the Gospel. By this parable think for yourself about which ‘soil’ type of faith are you living in your life. Make amends if something is not right and if you are on the right track then continue to bear good fruit.
Let’s read Matthew 13: 1-23 (NLT) in which Jesus our Lord not only gave us this parable but also the brilliant explanation of it. Take your time to read it all but most importantly benefit from it by being the ‘good soil’. Here we go:
1 Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”
11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,
For they look, but they don’t really see.
They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.
14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
‘When you hear what I say,
you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
you will not comprehend.
15 For the hearts of these people are hardened,
and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.’
16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.
18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”