The parable of the unjust steward

The Savior gave this parable while traveling the countryside on His way to Jerusalem for His last Feast of Tabernacles. The parable of the unjust steward is a difficult to fully understand, but could have many lessons for us.

The parable

“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. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness;” (Luke 16: 1- 9 in the Bible)

The steward was a manager who handled the business affairs of an owner. And apparently, someone had reported the steward’s reckless squandering of his master’s property.

Applying the parable in our lives

One lesson we can take from the parable is how to live in the world successfully but be faithful to the commandments of God.

We need to give proper attention to the temporal affairs in our lives.

“For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Luke 16: 8) We need to manage our financial matters wisely and be free of financial bondage so that we can be of service to our Savior in His Kingdom. The Savior said, “…seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith. Organize yourselves: prepare every needful thing,..” (Doctrine and Covenants 109: 7-8) My wife and I have taught our children as they were growing up to develop skills and expertise through necessary education so that they could provide for themselves and their families and have the time and the means to serve their families and the Lord in His Kingdom.

The Lord Condemns Idleness and Laziness.

“…if any would not work, neither should he eat…them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread”. (2 Thessalonians 3: 10,12 in the Bible)

“Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.” (Doctrine and Covenants 42: 42)

Become friends of those around us including those in government and employment authority

“Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness;…” (Luke 16: 9) Mammon refers to the world which includes much unrighteousness. We need to live in the world among the righteous and the unrighteousness and try to be friends to all. Get to know your local leaders and businesses, work with them to improve our communities. The Lord said, “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many thing of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (Doctrine and Covenants 58: 27)

We cannot serve two masters

“Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16: 13 in the Bible). This can be challenging. We can see the good in others and work with them but not agree with their beliefs and personal life styles. In my experience with those I know there is good in all of them and I try to concentrate on that and develop a working relationship. The cardinal rule is never compromise our standards of conduct and break the commandments of God to please and get gain in the world. If we do, we begin to serve the world (or mammon) and not our Savior.

Dallas Jones is the local leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For any questions on this parable, call (231) 383-8359 or send an email [email protected].