2. What is the "right" thing?
[ ] Whatever is honest.
[ ] As a servant, he needs to do what his master wants and in his master's best interest.
[ ] As a person, he needs to take care of himself first. Everything else is secondary.
[ ] There's no "right" thing--it all depends on the situation.
3. He basically used his master's money to buy favors. Why
the master upset?
[ ] His master has so much money that he probably didn't care.
[ ] His master didn't say the servant did the right thing, but only that he was smart.
[ ] His master is crazy.
[ ] His master is a really nice guy.
4. Did Jesus approve what the servant did?
[ ] He sounded like it, but I can't be sure.
[ ] No way, how can Jesus approve stealing money?
[ ] He didn't. Jesus said that a person should be faithful, and the servant clearly wasn't faithful.
[ ] Yes, Jesus said make friends with money, etc.
1. Money is considered unrighteous. This is really odd because
most often it is man and actions of man that are called
Rarely are physical objects given a moral evaluation.
2. Note that the master praised the servant's wisdom only, and said nothing about his honesty. Altering the IOUs without the master's approval is not an honest act no matter what the intention of the master may be. Also the servant did it for his own benefit, not the masters. This is therefore also a self-serving act.
3. "Faithfulness" was not focused on money but rather the use of it. Usually we talk about people being faithful "with" the money entrusted to them (e.g., an investment advisor). But here the statement was focusing on the "use" of money rather than the money itself. When we refer to someone being faithful "with" money, we generally talk about someone keeping money safe and making some good uses with it to make more money. But what does it mean to be faithful with the "use" of money? What if the master has some intention for the money other than keeping and growing it? Would the "use" of money in that sense refer to the unusual intention for the money?
4. What does the master really want, then, is the key to resolving the seemingly strange behavior of the master and the contradictory statements by Jesus. The key is found in the statement, "Make friends for yourselves by means of the money of unrighteousness; that when money is no longer useful, those friends may receive you into the eternal dwellings." The master (who's really Jesus) is not thinking of the money, or else he wouldn't call it unrighteous. Rather he is thinking of the "use" of money and the desired use for this unrighteous thing is to gain something eternal--friendship (of saved souls) and eternal rewards. He seems to be more concerned about the welfare of the servant than his own money! Perhaps the master also wanted to do something good for the debtors, but that's hard to tell since the focus was on the servant himself.
5. Interestingly, if the servant wasn't "using" his master's money correctly, he would have been "wasting" his master's money. Waste can be considered as "not using properly." It doesn't have to mean "make disappear."
So what does the master (Jesus) want? He let us manage HIS money which he doesn't really care for--he calls it "unrighteous"--and he wants us to use it to do two things: make friends (i.e. save souls) and get eternal rewards. It's like using someone else's money to get rich. We shall be judged by how we manage his money. Too bad many Christians see their talents and wealth as their own and keep them away from being used for the purpose of God's Kingdom.
On a side note: I marketed this lesson as one of the two lessons
will tell them most of the meaning of the Christian life. The
is the Modern-Day Salvation Story --
Tale of Two Friends which illustrates the concept of salvation.
Last updated: 11/25/2001