Luke 16:1–13 (NKJV)
In this passage, Jesus uses a parable of an unjust steward who is about to lose his job. In the exit process, he negotiates with his master’s debtors in order to win favor and perhaps find favor or even another job for after he is no longer employed by his master.
16:1 He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’Luke 16:1-8
3 “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’
5 “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
When the steward found out that his master was displeased with his work, he decided to find a way to land on his feet after he was fired. He settled debts owed to his master by offering to take less money than was owed in order to get some of the principal from debts that may not have been secure. The steward may have helped his master and the debtors. His actions were shrewd and won him favor with the master and the debtors.
9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?Luke 16:9-13
13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
In the follow-up to this story, Jesus explained that His servants must be faithful, using mammon (or wealth) to their advantage in the spiritual realm as well. A few things come to mind, including shrewd–but honest–business dealings, benevolence, and generosity. These practices involve wisdom and gracious compassion. They also follow the laws of God in how Christians should deal with those around them. These words also are in the realm of a discussion on tithing and giving, which are still valid commands and calls of God.
Use what is unrighteous (mammon, money, wealth, although often neutral) to demonstrate a spiritual and Godly truth. Even things that seem evil at times can be tools for the Christian to use to further the gospel, including money. Wealth or money are necessary to function in the world. Therefore, using money, which is here characterized as unrighteous–in a wise but righteous way–is a method whereby Christians can make room for the gospel. Using what is least to gain what is greatest is wise. But be sure that in the process, you remember Who is the greatest and true Master. You can only serve one master, but you can use many tools for His glory.