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The Parable of
THE UNJUST STEWARD
The words reverberated in Chuck’s mind. He had worked at the used car dealership for five years, ever since he dropped out of high school. It was the only job he ever had.
“Now what am I going to do?” he said to himself. He thought back on his mistakes. He had been so excited about being promoted to the sales floor, he told all his friends, and they began to come in. Unfortunately, none of them had any money. Still, he wanted to impress them, so he sold them cars with no down-payment, and falsified the paperwork. He was not sorry for doing it; he was sorry he got caught. He had dreams of owning the dealership by the time he was forty years old. Now, it was all over.
“What am I going to do?” he thought again. He was living in a motel, and had to pay rent every day. “Where am I going to stay?” That’s when the idea suddenly came to him. He knew that his friend Roger, to whom he had sold one of the cars, had just contracted a job and was paid in advance. “I know what I’m going to do”, he thought.
He got in his car and drove over to Roger’s house, and knocked on the door. When his friend invited him in, Chuck showed him the paperwork he brought with him.
“It says here that you bought the car for one thousand dollars”, said Chuck. “ However, if you pay me five hundred now, I’ll give you the title, and you’ll own it today.”
“That sounds good!”, said Roger. He gave Chuck the money and thanked him profusely. “I owe you one”, his buddy said as they shook hands.
“Well”, said Chuck, “I might need a place to stay for a while.”
“Sure”, said Roger. “I have an extra room. “Come over any time.”
“That’s great”, said Chuck. “Let me know if you need an extra hand at work. I may need to do a little moonlighting.”
“No problem”, said Roger. “I have to hire more people anyway.”
When he was back in the car, Chuck fanned himself with the bills. “I hope the next few stops are as lucrative as this was”, he said as he drove.
They were. By the end of the day, Chuck held enough money and made himself enough friends that it seemed like his troubles were over. He only had one problem left: it was his troubled conscience. He held more money in his hand than he had ever seen at one time. “The problem”, he thought, “is that it’s not mine.” However, the temptation was so powerful, it made his palms sweat and his mouth run dry. As he struggled internally, his car came to a fork in the road. To the right was the way home, the left led to the car dealership. To his surprise, he found himself turning left. What surprised him more was that he felt relieved. He decided to give the money to his boss.
“What’s this?”, his boss said with astonishment. Chuck had handed him all the money and the paperwork as well.
“I knew these people weren’t going to make payments any time soon… if ever”, said Chuck. “So I went and got as much money as I could from the delinquent accounts. It was wrong of me to do business with my friends that way. I wish I could give you the balance of what is due, but I don’t have any of my own money saved up.”
As Chuck turned around and pushed open the door to leave, his boss said, “I could deduct a little from your paycheck each week…”
Chuck turned around, amazed.
His boss was nonchalant. “If you come in an hour early each day and stay an hour later, you’ll have it paid off faster”, he said.
“Yes, Sir!” Chuck exclaimed.
“Now, mind you”, his boss said, “I’m not going to give you back all that responsibility right away. You have to earn back my trust. I need to know that your loyalty is to this company more than your friends.”
“Yes, Sir”, said Chuck, head bowed.
“You have to be trustworthy with my cars before I’ll ever let you become a partner in this company”, his boss exclaimed. “I’ll give you one more chance.”
“Yes, Sir!” said Chuck. And he left the building a richer man than when he walked in.
THE UNJUST STEWARD (Luke 16:1-8,10-13)
“There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 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 a steward.’ 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. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’ So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 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.’ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. 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. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? 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.”