What does being shrewd mean? What does being shrewd for Christ’s sake look like? Shrewdness is about realistic evaluation of reality and intentional action to achieve a goal. What’s the Goal Christ calls us to? How do we get the lay of the land and proceed? Everything we need is in the Scriptures!
Luke 16 1-18
Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. 2 So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’
- Manager’s busted for not being a good steward of what he was given charge of
3 “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. 4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’
- He evaluates the situation he is in (he deals with his reality)
- He shrewdly figures out how to get the best result based on a goal: self-interest
- He recognizes the key role others play in how things go in life
5 “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ 6 The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’ 7 “‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’
- What he does is dishonest, but since he is getting fired anyway, it wont hurt him
- He does things for others, in hope of the favor being returned
8 “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.
- ‘His Boss’ sees his manager is a ‘dishonest rascal’, but he is clever
- His Boss admires the intentional application of resources to achieve a goal
9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.
- Be a good steward of ‘God Given’ resources you have, using them for others
- Material Possessions in this world are given to serve eternal purposes
- What matters to God is people, and their eternal souls
10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
- Focus on incremental, intentional choices that orient your life to Christ’s ways
- God’s Kingdom isn’t about big showy gestures, but small meaningful actions
- We learn God’s ways in small things then apply them to everything
13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
- The motivation driving your action is crucial: we are called to be undivided
- God will not share His Lordship! As in the first three of the Ten Commandments
- Money is an example of what can divide your loyalty with God
- Other things: Attention / A Relationship / A House or Car
- If your loyalty is divided your actions will be as well as will be your impact
14 The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him. 15 Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.
- The example is tailored to the audience, they demonstrate their divided alliance
- God know ALL of our hearts… And He knows what captivates your heart
- Christ is crystal clear: Honoring God means detesting what the world honors
16 “Until now John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in.
- Christ considers John the Baptist’s message equal to scripture!
- God is about His Law and has to be approached with humility & repentance
- People mistake the Gospel as being a change in who God is how we relate
- They want the grace without the holiness…
17 But that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned. 18 “For example, a man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”
- The Good News does not change who God is, it more fully reveals who He is
- Progressive Revelation
- God stills calls us to live holy before him, what Christ did was make it possible
- We can’t keep the law every time, but we are motived to be shrewd as possible
- We cannot minimize sin, act like God dosen’t care or call it a mistake
Being shrewd for Christ’s Sake can only be done God’s way, and scripture is the place we find God’s way.
When properly motivated people are shrewd; typically focused on self-interests.
As Christians we often undervalue shrewdness / intentional action.
Get motivated to be shrewd for God’s interests (People / Souls).
Little things matter to God. Integrity matters to God. Stewardship matters to God.
God says you must be all mine, heart & soul. Your allegiance cannot be split.
God knows where you heart is, to honor God means rejecting ‘The World’s’ values.
The New Covenant is meant to give us a heart to honor God’s Law, not minimize it
How much of your intentional action benefits yourself versus others? How can you change that ratio?
What little things regarding God honoring Integrity & stewardship can you grow in?
What parts of your life do you not put under Christ’s Lordship? Why Not?
What’s more important: A relationship with Christ or Living based on The Scriptures?