This article was originally published in 2009
With all of the latest lay offs occurring in a country who's economy seems to be hanging by a thread' I thought it fitting to remind us of a parable Jesus shared with the disciples in Luke 16. The parable was about a man who was about to be fired and the steps that he took to secure friends, contacts, people he could come to for help once he was let go. As a matter of fact, Jesus described him as a shrewd and wise steward. In other words, -
He was astute: He understood that if he didn't do something quick he would be out of a job. He was not going to get fired and not have something, someone, some job to go to. (Verse 3)
He was clever: He came up with an ingenious idea. He created opportunity not only for himself, but for others as well. He planned for the worst by setting aside some options for himself. What are your options? "Ah, I know how to ensure that I'll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired." (Verse 4) NLT.
He was sharp: Not only because he put his plans to action, but how he did it. "So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, 'How much do you owe him?' The man replied, 'I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.' So the manager told him, 'Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons. And how much do you owe my employer? he asked the next man. 'I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,' was the reply. 'Here, the manager said, 'take the bill and change it to 800 bushels."
In this current economy, the people of God must learn to think like the wise and shrewd steward. Think! Use some wisdom. Establish some friends, some contacts. The bible says that he who wants friends must show himself friendly. In other words, start networking. Get to know new people and old acquaintances even better. A young mentor of mine with a great mind for business wrote an article entitled, "It Must Not Hurt That Bad" In a nut shell, his message was, if you can do something about your situation, then do it. Stop making excuses, stop procrastinating, and do it!
The shrewd manager didn't wait to be fired to do something about his situation. Too many times we misunderstand the phrase, 'wait on God.' This phrase does not mean sitting down and twiddling our thumbs. It certainly doesn't mean you can't be looking and inquiring and doing things until God opens a door. As a matter of fact, the only way you'll know that a door has been opened, is you've got to be out and about looking. In fact, James tells us in James 2:26 "Faith without works is dead."
Look at what Jesus says about believers, His own people. "And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light." (Verse 8) KJV
He said this because he knew how His followers tend to box themselves in away from the world. So much so that we have no idea how to deal or relate to the changes, issues and ideas that exist in the world. This is one reason why many fellowships are in decline, no longer impacting the world but the world impacting them. I have said for years that whoever has the greatest impact will be the one in control.
In closing, Jesus stated in Luke 16:9, "Here's the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home." (KJV)
The shrewd steward used his resources, not only to help himself, but to help the two men who owed his boss. By doing so, he did exactly what he set out to do, Make Friends. It's called networking. The world knows how to do this well. Stop Letting the World Out - Smart You!