Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Shrewd as snakes yet innocent as doves

Shrewd as snakes yet innocent as doves.

Jesus said, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.  Matthew 10:16
We are commanded to take the gospel to a hostile, godless and self-serving world. To do this effectively, we must be wise (avoiding traps that are set for us), and we must be innocent by humbly serving the Lord.

Parable of the Shrewd Manager
Luke 16:1-13
Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting (misusing, squandering) his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ 

The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg. I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. 

For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Jesus is saying that we can learn a valuable lesson from the shrewd manager. He is wiser than many “sons of light” because he can anticipate what is coming, he knows how human nature operates and he uses what has been entrusted to him to prepare for his limited future on this earth. 

The lesson:A faithful steward (“a person of the light”) will figure out a way to use the resources that God has entrusted to them on earth as wisely as possible in order to invest in spiritual benefits for eternity in Heaven for themselves and others. 

God has entrusted each of one of uswith many blessings, e.g. our time, our talents, financial blessings, focused prayers, spiritual gifts, love, care, attention, spiritual fruit, etc. We will be held accountableon how we use these blessings. We need to constantly pray and ask God for wisdom to understand what it takes to effectively use God’s gifts in this world. We can help to position others to receive His Word and to prepare for eternity.