Faithful Stewardship
Luke 16:1-8
And he said also to his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward…

In this parable the man was dispossessed from his place because he wasted goods which did not belong to him. He had been in various ways careless. The particular nature of his carelessness is not specified; but this is specified — that he was to be dispossessed because he was not faithful in the management of the property of another. Our subject, then, is: The use of funds not your own, but intrusted to your administration or keeping. Men think they have a complete case when they say, "Here is a power in my hand for a definite end, and I shall use it for that end; but I find that it is a power which may accomplish more than that: it can do good for more than the owner. I can use it and derive benefit from it. I can also benefit the community by my operations. Besides, it will never be known. Therefore men who are weaker than I will not be tempted by my example to do the same thing. It will never injure the owner, it will help me, through me it will benefit many others, and no evil shall come from it." This would seem to make the thing secure; but let us examine the matter.

1. It would not be honest, and therefore it would not be wise, to use other people's property for our own benefit, secretly, even if it were safe. If it did them no harm, if it did you good, and if nobody knew it, it would not be honest. You have no business to do it under any circumstances. And it does not make it any better that you have managerial care over property. In that event the sin is even greater; for you are bound to see to it that it is used for the purposes for which it was committed to your trust, and not for anything aside from that.

2. No man has a right to put property that is not his own to all the risks of commerce. What if a man thus employing trust funds does expect, what if he does mean, so and so? That is nothing. He might as well throw a babe out of a second-story window, and say that he hoped it would lodge in some tree and not be hurt, as to endanger the property of others held in trust by him, and say that he hopes it will not come to any harm. What has that to do with it? The chances are against its being safe.

3. No man has a right to put his own character for integrity and honesty upon a commercial venture. No man has a right to enter upon an enterprise where, if he succeeds, he may escape, but where, if he fails, he is ruined not simply in pocket, but in character; and yet this is what every man does who uses trust funds for his own purposes. He takes the risk of destroying himself in the eyes of honest men. He places his own soul in jeopardy.

4. No man has a right to put in peril the happiness, welfare, and good name of his family, of the neighbourhood, of the associates and friends with whom he has walked, of the Church with which he is connected, of his partners in business, of all that have been related to him.

5. No man has a right to undermine the security of property on which the welfare of individuals of the community depends in any degree.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

WEB: He also said to his disciples, "There was a certain rich man who had a manager. An accusation was made to him that this man was wasting his possessions.

Cleverness and Sagacity
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