And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their
own kind than the sons of light.
Describe some ethical ways people in secular environments act shrewdly to get ahead. How “shrewd” do you feel most Christians are in their approach to life and resources?
Growth through Understanding
The parable in Luke 16:8 introduces a comparison that may surprise us. In the parable, Christ makes a contrast between how unbelievers manage and maximize their resources in this world with that of believers in the world to come. Unbelievers seize opportunities to progress in their lives through the relationships they build and to maneuver through those relationships toward a greater goal. Jesus makes the point that unbelievers are wiser in the things of this world than believers are about the things of the world to come. Now, this does not mean we are to manipulate people or situations; but we are to invest in the well-being of others now so that we are creating kingdom connections/relationships for the future that awaits us in eternity.
The parable teaches us the importance of developing kingdom relationships by impacting as many people as we can for our benefit in eternity. This includes sharing the gospel and leading others to Christ. As kingdom stewards, we are to benefit others in any way we can. Jesus said that even a cup of cold water, given in His name, will be credited to our account (Mark 9:41).
Dr. Evans has challenged the members of OCBF to perform “random acts of kindness” in our community with people we do not know. As a way of encouraging our participation, “Acts of Kindness” cards were created for our members to carry with them throughout their day as they look for opportunities to be a blessing to strangers. Kindness comes in many forms, so any “act of kindness” such as bringing food to a homeless person, buying someone a cup of coffee, helping an elderly person cross the street, carrying groceries for a young mom with kids, etc., gives us an opportunity to hand out the “acts of kindness” cards to these individuals and possibly pray, share the gospel and/or invite them to church.
Why are we encouraging our members to do “random acts of kindness?” We certainly do it to be a blessing to people in our community, but there is another reason that is closely connected to the parable in this week’s lesson. By encouraging our members to do acts of kindness, we are teaching them to be generous in their service to others, using their God-given resources to make friends for eternity. When we use kingdom stewardship principles, we help override the mismanagement of the past, build kingdom relationships for the world to come, and we leave a legacy of God’s glory everywhere we go.
It is never too late. You can change your legacy. Regardless of where things are now, you can change where they will wind up. When you recognize you are a citizen of heaven, money becomes foreign currency to you. That’s because you belong to another kingdom. However, for where you live now, money is a necessity. So use the currency you have, as well as your other resources of time, talents and treasures for the benefit of others, and you will discover the key to eternal rewards that are stored up for you in the heavenly kingdom to which you belong.
At heart, a kingdom steward is a believer who protects and expands the assets of the Owner, and that Owner is God. As Creator and Owner of everything, God has established the guidelines that we are to use in managing and maximizing what He’s given us for the benefit of others so that we produce the most good and experience the greatest gains in this life and the life to come.
Growth through Discussion
As you dive into the heart of Dr. Evans’ teaching, use the following questions to generate thoughts to meditate on.
- Give the definition of a kingdom steward as taught in our lesson today.
- In the parable of the unrighteous manager, we are presented with a contrast between a secular and biblical approach to profit growth through resource management. What point is the parable making about the “sons of this age” and the “sons of light” in the management of resources? How should Christians respond to the meaning of the parable? What are the benefits to the Christian in the practice of kingdom stewardship?
- What does Dr. Evans mean when he says money is a “foreign currency” for Christians? In what ways does this impact your view of money and its use? Talk briefly about the potential “exchange rate” when we get to heaven.
- Share some overall principles and life application points you learned from this 8-week Bible study. Have you been living your life in keeping with the principles of kingdom stewardship? Why or Why not? What changes can you make to become a kingdom steward or a better kingdom steward?
- Linking emotional well-being to “stewardship” isn’t always a common thought. Describe how the two connect and share some ways others in your sphere of influence can be made more aware of this connection as you seek to disciple them.
- What are some additional benefits for living as a kingdom steward that weren’t mentioned in this week’s lesson?
Now is the time to apply the wisdom of what you have learned to your life, as you express the depth of your relationship with God through service to Him and others.
Create a grid of your resources. Pray over your resource grid every day for ways to maximize and use your resources more shrewdly to the glory of God and for the impact of His kingdom.
This week, identify a person you can help in a specific area of stewardship as a way of building kingdom relationships and rewards in the life to come.