Luke 16: Total integrity

November 29th, 2006

The word “character” is sometimes defined as “who you are when no one is looking”. Does it really matter what you do behind closed doors? Does it really matter if you think offensive thoughts provided you don’t tell anyone about them? Does it really matter if you drive through red lights in the middle of the night when no one is around? Does it really matter if you steal biscuits from the biscuit tin or do some minor dodges on your tax return? According to Jesus, “Whoever is faithful with a little bit is also faithful with a lot. Whoever is dishonest with little things is also dishonest with big things.”

Luke’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 16

16:1 He said to his disciples, “A rich man once had a manager. A complaint was made that this man was wasting his possessions. 16:2 He called him in, and said, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you can no longer be manager.’

16:3 “The manager thought, ‘What will I do, seeing that the boss is taking away the management job? I don’t have strength to dig. I am ashamed to beg. 16:4 I know what I will do, so that when I am removed from management, people will welcome me into their houses.’ 16:5 He called everyone who owed money to his boss and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe the boss?’ 16:6 He said, ‘3,000 litres of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write 1,500.’ 16:7 Then he said to another, ‘How much do you owe?’ He said, ’27 tonnes of wheat.’ He said to him,’Take your bill, and write 22.’

16:8 “The boss commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. The children of this world are, in their own generation, wiser than the children of the light. 16:9 I tell you, use the money of injustice to make friends for yourselves, so that when it runs out they will welcome you into eternal homes. 16:10 Whoever is faithful with a little bit is also faithful with a lot. Whoever is dishonest with little things is also dishonest with big things. 16:11 So if you have not been faithful with money, who will trust you with true riches? 16:12 If you have not been faithful with things which belong to someone else, who will give you something of your own? 16:13 No servant can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other; or else you will cling to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

16:14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, overheard all these things, and they scoffed at him. 16:15 He said to them, “You justify yourselves in the eyes of people, but God knows your hearts. Things which are highly valued by people are an abomination in the eyes of God. 16:16 The law and the prophets prevailed until John. From that time the Good News of the Kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing a way into it. 16:17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to vanish than for one letter of the law to fall. 16:18 Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. Anyone who marries a divorcee commits adultery.

16:19 “There was a rich man, clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. 16:20 A beggar named Lazarus stayed at his gate, covered with sores, 16:21 and hoping to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. The dogs came and licked his sores. 16:22 Then the beggar died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. 16:23 In hell he was in a state of torment, and he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance with Lazarus near him. 16:24 He cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue! I am in anguish in these flames.’

16:25 “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you received your good things when you were alive, and Lazarus received bad things. But now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. 16:26 In any event there is a huge chasm between us and you, so that anyone who wants to cross from here to you is not able, and no-one can cross over from there to us.’

16:27 “He said, ‘In that case, father, please send him to my father’s house. 16:28 I have five brothers, and he could warn them, so they won’t also end up in this place of torment.’ 16:29 But Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. They can listen to them.’ 16:30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone returns to them from the dead they will repent.’ 16:31 He said to him, ‘If they’re not going to listen to Moses and the prophets, then they’re not going to be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Entry Filed under: Perseverance

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. » Com&hellip  |  January 24th, 2009 at 7:11 am

    […] Luke chapter 16 is one of the more difficult chapters in the Bible to understand, because in it Jesus seems to be commending a man who engages in dishonest conduct at someone else’s expense. Jesus tells the story of a manager who was about to be fired because he was wasting his employer’s resources decided to “make friends” for himself by giving key clients big discounts, thus improving his chances of getting employment after he was fired. […]

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