Bible Study for May 26: Exploit your friends

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Luke 9:57-62
Eric Gargus, student pastor
Northside Baptist Church, Columbus

Scams and deception fill newscasts on a weekly basis. From celebrity moms who pay large amounts of money to “buy and lie” their children into big-name colleges to the scammers attempting to steal funds intended to help rebuild the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the world is full of failure to be faithful to the truth.

Consider the Millennium Tower, a 58-floor luxury skyscraper in San Francisco. This property is sinking into the ground at a dangerously fast pace. Its developers took shortcuts, driving the foundational piles less than half of the necessary depth to reach the bedrock needed for a stable structure. Owners of multi-million-dollar condos within the tower are faced with financial loss, and fear of a building collapse.

The Bible Meets Life

As morals seem to increasingly disappear when it comes to getting ahead in life, one can journey back to a parable Jesus told about a dishonest manager who worked for a very wealthy man. Jesus was teaching His disciples using this parable, while a group of Pharisees were listening in on the conversation. This manager was cheating his employer, embezzling his resources.

All of us give account to God for how we manage our time, our talent, and our financial resources. Being wise with our resources can literally save more lives, spread the Gospel to more people groups, and point the people around us in daily life toward Jesus.

When called upon to give account for his wrongdoing, the manager had some interesting reactions. His pride came into play as he feared the consequences of his failures, while his management abilities turned out to be impressive in his honest planning for his now uncertain future. This man’s story begs the question of us, “Am I being a faithful manager of what God has given me?”

Study the Bible

Luke 16: 1-2 Unlike earthly employers, God sees our shortcomings in real-time. He will hold us accountable for our actions — or inaction. When the manager in the parable is faced with being caught, the realization hits him square in the face that his future is in jeopardy. He will be fired!

Christians today can see themselves in this man when comparing how their lives are being used or misused when it comes to the kingdom of God. Thankfully, God forgives instead of fires — although there will be consequences.

Luke 16: 3-9 If a person is filling up the car with gas, that person is not going to let the pump overflow. Gas is not cheap. It ruins paint. It can create a fire hazard at the station. And, it can get all over one’s clothing! Yet that same person might spend more time wasting away playing a game on his or her phone than checking on a sick friend or praying for said friend. People dump money into bigger and better cars and homes when instead they could build wells for those without clean water, fund the rescue of victims of human trafficking, or even help a missionary stay on the field another year!

The manager in the parable befriended those who owed his boss by reducing their bills dramatically. Although the shrewdness impressed the wealthy boss, it cost the man his career. Consider the “what if” that could have existed were the manager to have used his abilities to make friends and create wealth to honestly reach more people for Christ.

Luke 16: 10-12The little things matter. The manager could have become the wealthy boss one day had he concentrated his skills into ethical business growth. Instead, he all but guaranteed his place in future careers. Greed and selfishness rob people of happiness and purpose daily. A person who deals in dishonesty is daily life yet claims to follow Jesus is nothing but a whitewashed tomb for scams and deceitful shortcuts.

Live It Out

There are scores of people with scores of talents and skills who spend every day trying to achieve selfish gains, gains which will all be destroyed one day when the earth is no more. One smooth-talking, crafty manager reminds all that time, talent, and resources are given by God with the intent of being utilized for His purposes.

Life can either be like a sinking skyscraper that takes others down with it, or a lighthouse of hope for those nearby. A person can be remembered for the scam they almost got away with, or the integrity with which they lived daily. As the old Steve Green song goes, “Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

  1. Have you ever experienced a scam or workplace deception?
  2. What do you have to offer God in time, talent, and resources?
  3. What is one positive step you can take to be faithful in the little things? 

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