|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-12 Whatever we have, the property of it is God's; we have only the use of it, according to the direction of our great Lord, and for his honour. This steward wasted his lord's goods. And we are all liable to the same charge; we have not made due improvement of what God has trusted us with. The steward cannot deny it; he must make up his accounts, and be gone. This may teach us that death will come, and deprive us of the opportunities we now have. The steward will make friends of his lord's debtors or tenants, by striking off a considerable part of their debt to his lord. The lord referred to in this parable commended not the fraud, but the policy of the steward. In that respect alone is it so noticed. Worldly men, in the choice of their object, are foolish; but in their activity, and perseverance, they are often wiser than believers. The unjust steward is not set before us as an example in cheating his master, or to justify any dishonesty, but to point out the careful ways of worldly men. It would be well if the children of light would learn wisdom from the men of the world, and would as earnestly pursue their better object. The true riches signify spiritual blessings; and if a man spends upon himself, or hoards up what God has trusted to him, as to outward things, what evidence can he have, that he is an heir of God through Christ? The riches of this world are deceitful and uncertain. Let us be convinced that those are truly rich, and very rich, who are rich in faith, and rich toward God, rich in Christ, in the promises; let us then lay up our treasure in heaven, and expect our portion from thence.
Verse 12. - And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's. Here we have our earthly possessions plainly spoken of as the goods of another, that is, of God, and of these goods we are but the temporary stewards. Who shall give you that which is your own? We have here a very magnificent promise. Although on earth man can possess nothing of his own - here he is but a steward for a time of property belonging to another - yet a prospect is held out to him that, if he be found faithful in the trust while on earth, in the world to come something will be given to him really and truly his own. There will be no dismissal or death there.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's,.... Which is not a man's own, but what is committed to him by another; , "with the mammon of others (a)", to speak in the language of the Jews; and of mammon, our Lord is speaking, and here of another man's, of which they were only stewards, as he in the preceding parable was: hence we read (b) of , "keepers of mammon", who were intrusted with another's substance; and such are here supposed, which, if unfaithful in,
who shall give you that which is your own? that is, should you unjustly detain, or make an ill use of another man's substance lodged in your hands, how can you expect but that you will be dealt with in like manner by others, who will not pay you yours, they have in their possession, but convert it to their own use? A like distinction of another's and a man's own, may be observed among the Jews:
"there are (say they (c),) four sorts of men in respect of giving alms; he that would give, but would not have others give, his eye is evil, , "in that which is other men's" (i.e. as the commentator observes (d), lest the goods of others should be increased, and they get a good name); he that would that others should give, but he will not give himself, his eye is evil, "in that which is his own"; he that gives, and would have others give, he is a "good man"; he that neither gives, nor would have others give, he is an "ungodly man";''
see Romans 5:7. Interpreters generally understand by "that which is another man's", in the first clause, the things of this world, which men are possessed of, because these are not of themselves, but from another, from God; and they are but stewards, rather than proprietors of them; and they are for the good of others, and not for themselves; and are not lasting, but in a little while will pass from them to others: and by "that which is your own", they understand the good things of grace and glory, which, when once bestowed on man, are his own property, and for his own use, and will never be alienated from him, but will always abide with him: but if he is unfaithful in the former, how should he expect the latter to be given to him?
(a) Jarchi in Pirke Abot, c. 5, sect. 13. (b) T. Hieros. Succa, fol. 53. 1.((c) Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 13. (d) Jarchi in ib.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. another man's … your own—an important turn to the subject. Here all we have is on trust as stewards, who have an account to render. Hereafter, what the faithful have will be their own property, being no longer on probation, but in secure, undisturbed, rightful, everlasting possession and enjoyment of all that is graciously bestowed on us. Thus money is neither to be idolized nor despised: we must sit loose to it and use it for God's glory.
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