Come Follow Me LDS- Bonus- May 6-12: The Unjust Steward

– Maybe the most perplexing parable
– There is a forgotten character, The Accuser
– What does this parable have in common with the previous parables?

Podcast

Raw Transcript

 

“Rejoice With Me . .” Part 3

 

all right in this episode we’re going to

cover the parable of the unjust steward

that’s found in Luke 16 I skipped over

this with the other couple episodes of

come follow me it’s a difficult parable

to understand and it would have taken

some time but I did want to get it in

here for reference so here we go

we’re going to cover this what I’m going to do

is I’m going to go ahead and read through

the parable and then we’re going to take a

look at a few different interpretations

and ideas that I have that help us to

you know maybe I put this puzzle

together just a little bit and he said

also unto his disciples now this is a

change that many commentators point out

with this to cite this parable where

originally remember he’s sitting with

the publicans and the sinners the

Pharisees come along and say why are you

sitting with them well his first

parables here address the Pharisees we

have the story of the lost sheep we have

the story of the lost coin with a woman

we have a story of the lost son or the

prodigal son and now he turns and he

speaks to his disciples with this

parable 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

given 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 Lords debtors

unto him and said unto the first how

much OS now into my Lord and he said and

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 I was out and he said and

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 now we’re going to stop

here at the Versa end of verse eight

this parable may stop right here it

might even start it stopped in the

middle of verse eight and one of the

problems with interpreting this parable

is everything that follows afterwards

seems to be kind of an explanation or a

follow-up to the parable but it might

not be and so if we’re trying to put all

the pieces of the puzzle together then

we go ahead and bring all of the

follow-up here from Jesus and his

comments into the parable we’ll do that

in a minute so let’s go back to the

beginning of this parable and dissect it

a little bit and talk about some of the

interpretations that commentators have

given us previously and he said unto his

disciples verse 1 there was a certain

rich man which had a steward so we don’t

know who’s who here that’s one of the

problems we assume that the rich man or

the master here is the Lord and he very

well may be but we don’t know that

because he acts a little strange in this

he is commending the unjust steward for

fraudulent or unjust work which seems

very odd so let’s keep going and the

same was accused unto him that he had

wasted his goods

so the steward is not taking care of

things you think of the steward as

someone who’s in charge of the financial

endeavors here of the financial

administration of the master and he’s

not taking care of things are

falling apart and he called him and said

unto Him how is it that I hear this of

thee given account of thy stewardship

for thou mayest be no longer steward

so he’s being put on notice you’re going to

be fired

based on how the accounting comes out

here 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 so labor

is not really in the cards for this

steward and they’re too ashamed to go

out and beg so they needed to secure

their future and find out a way to

secure an income in the future says I am

resolved what to do

that when I am put out of the

stewardship they may receive me into

their homes so it appears that what he’s

doing is he’s going to come up with a

plan here that he’s going to go to the

debtors of the master and figure out a

way that they’re going to like him and

probably hire him in the future to maybe

look over some of their finances and so

he called every one of his Lords debtors

unto him and said unto the first how

much OS thou unto my lord write and then

he goes through this process and Jesus

gives a couple of examples of him

lowering the debt on these two people

that they owe to the rich man to the

master what’s interesting is the

examples that they give which is having

to do with a hundred measures of oil and

a hundred measures of wheat the amount

seems to be different that’s lowered but

the actual value that it’s lowered is

the same the total debt is different but

the actual value that it’s lowered not

percentage-wise but the actual value is

the same and when he does this then

the master commends him for what he’s

doing because he’s done wisely and then

we get this interesting statement here

from Jesus for the children of this

world are in their generation wiser than

the children of light so why would he

say that again here’s another example of

something that seems turned on its head

for the children of this world are in

their generation wiser than the children

of light so if we go back to Tallmadge’s

example what he says is that the unjust

steward realizing that the judgment was

coming so to speak he goes back to the

debtors and the amount that he reduces

the debt is actually the amount that

would be for him for the steward so he

goes around to these individuals and he

has to bring a debt back to the master

that’s certain amount but to do that it

would be common for whoever is going to

be doing the collection to charge

something on top of that that would be

very common allows for a lot of

corruption we see this in a lot of the

third-world countries still today but

that’s what would have been common back

then and so perhaps that’s true

perhaps he goes out and he reduces the

bill and instead of reducing what is

owed to the master he reduces what his

take is which would be a large sum a

large percentage of it and therefore

brings that back to the master and so

the master gets exactly what he’s

expecting but the steward gets nothing

out of it and therefore the master the

rich man would commend him for

collecting all the debts and getting

this taken care of it’s not the best

scenario he should have been doing this

all along but once he was put into a

position where he had to really start

looking out for his future he takes care

of things and the master is it commends

him for it the other thing that we might

look at is what McConkey says McConkey

goes into a little bit more of an

explanation of how this is a very

worldly type of a scenario and it may

very well be that the master is also

worldly and not actually a

an example of the Lord but here is a

real-world example where they’re going

out and this the unjust steward is

securing an income for himself for the

future and that the parable is taught

because Jesus says this is just how

someone would take care of themselves

financially and start looking after

their future someone who is lost

spiritually needs to do the same thing

and that the children of this world are

in their generation wiser than the

children of light well it says in their

generation it may very well mean that in

their world the world of Mammon that

would mean riches and greed that they do

a much better job of making sure they’re

looking out for themselves financially

and for their future than many people do

spiritually in looking out for

themselves in their future their

eternity and so therefore he would be

telling the parable giving this

comparison of the higher law in the

lower law using again economy using the

spiritual economy and the temporal

economy as an example like he oftentimes

does this is Luke as he often times does

throughout all of his gospel at this

point let’s follow up a little bit with

what Jesus says after this after the

parable he says and I say unto you make

to yourselves friends of the Mammon of

unrighteousness so when you talk about

Mammon you’re talking about greed you’re

talking about money make to yourselves

friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness

that when you fail they may receive you

into everlasting habitations so you know

the idea here from the commentators is

again that make friends with temporal

needs

in other words you have to work within

this you have to work within these

parameters and there are no options and

if you look at the example here there is

an example I believe in section 82 the

talks has a very similar language to

this whole chapter where the Lord

tells Joseph Smith when they’re talking

about the United order that you need to

make friends with Mammon to make things

work financially and in other words you

can’t totally stand back and not deal at

all with money in this world it doesn’t

work you’ll never get anywhere it’s

impossible unfortunately but you can’t

do that you have to work within the

temporal economy even when you are

looking for a spiritual end and that’s

what mikake is saying and apparently

that’s what the Lord is saying to Joseph

Smith in Section 82 and then if we go

down a little bit further into verse 10

he says he that is faithful in that

which is least is faithful also in much

this would kind of be like the parable

of the talents even if you have a

smaller amount but you’re faithful in

that that’s actually shows that you’re

faithful in a lot you can be faithful in

a lot and he that is unjust in a little

in the least is unjust also in much so

if you have a little bit entrusted unto

you and you can’t handle that then you

probably can’t receive a lot more you’re

going to be unjust also when there’s a

lot more that is given to you similar

principle and then he goes down to the

verse 13 verse 13 and here’s where we

have a verse that we’re all familiar

with no servant can serve two masters

for either he will hate the one and love

the other or else you will hold to the

one and despise the other you cannot

serve God and Mammon so you have to have

an option here and this is another

window into possibly this parable that

it’s hard to find the answer to I

believe but it seems that he’s talking

he’s referring back to the Mammon here

he’s saying become friends of Mammon but

don’t worship Mammon right you need to

become Friends of Mammon and greet and

not greed and but the temple economy and

but do not worship it you have to serve

one or the other and then in verse 14 we

get something important here a little

bit of information and the Pharisees

because they’re still there even though

Jesus is now addressing the disciples

and the Pharisees also who were covetous

what he’s saying here is they they’re

greedy would be the better word I

think they are greedy they love money

and we’re told that a few times here in

the Gospels and they heard all these

things and they derided him so this is

another clue here why are they de

writing him why do they feel attacked in

this situation I think that’s a good

question to help unravel the parable and

its meaning who are the Pharisees are

they the Lord or not the Lord are they

the master or the rich man because in

the following in the next parable in the

rich man and Lazarus they are the rich

man are they the unjust steward and

their fraudulent and don’t take care of

things is the responsibility coming from

the rich man or the master to the unjust

steward and they’re not taking care of

things and that’s the Pharisees the Lord

is using them as a steward and their

unjust stewards being the Pharisees is

that possible and then a couple more

quick things here I want to go over in

verse 16 it says the law and the

prophets were until John being John the

Baptist since that time the kingdom of

God is preached and every man presses

into it so there is a Joseph Smith

translation to this where there’s

actually quite a few verses that are

inserted right about here unfortunately

they’re not inserted in the parable of

the unjust steward if they were right in

that area we’d get something much more

clear probably but they still might give

us a window into what the parable is

about his verses are all

about as he has inserted throughout most

of the Joseph Smith translation but

especially here in Luke and in Matthew

he inserts information about how the

Pharisees and the Sadducees and the

scribes etc have a dead law and they

only are focused on the lower law and

not on the higher law and so he’s saying

you’ve had this law the whole time but

you don’t understand it and you don’t

understand that it looks forward to me

as he says in the Joseph Smith

translation you’ve got the law you don’t

follow it and you don’t look at it and

understand it because if you did you

would realize that the prophets all

prophesied of me is what he says there

so we get this higher law lower law and

the idea of Jesus being the Messiah the

son of God and then one more point that

comes up here that is mentioned in Luke

16 but is emphasized in the Joseph Smith

translation is that of adultery that the

Pharisees seem to be in a practice of

taking a wife and then putting her away

that is giving her a divorcement and

then taking another wife and so this it

sounds like that’s what’s happening here

with them and that they are in positions

of power that they’re greedy and that

they are looking only out for themselves

and not taking care of their wives and

their children because Jesus Joseph

Smith specifically talks about them

taking the children and offending the

children as well so Pharisees here are

not are not shed in a very good light by

Jesus at all so in looking at the Joseph

Smith translation a couple things that

come up that Jesus seems to be talking

about are that they are not good

stewards and in that sense maybe

they are the unjust steward maybe they

are

not taking care of things because

they’re covetous and they are after

money themselves and this unjust steward

and the parable actually made a change

but the Pharisees don’t and they are

they don’t they don’t take care of their

stewardship that they’ve been given and

they don’t maybe it’s their homes maybe

they don’t take care of even their own

homes and their own wives and their own

children Joseph Smith specifically says

that they get mad at Jesus for saying

that for him saying that they are

adulterers so are they offended and

that’s what the unjust steward

represents as they are not stewards of

their own home I think that’s a real

possibility in looking at what Joseph

Smith inserts here as well one more last

thought on this and no I don’t have a

for sure conclusion on this

unfortunately there’s a lot of moving

parts here but there’s one more thought

here that I had if you go back and you

look at all of these parables that Jesus

is teaching in this moment and this time

remember what the setting is he is

sitting with the publicans and the

sinners and the Pharisees come and

that’s the first thing that they are

upset about why are you sitting with the

publicans in the sitter’s how can you do

that and so then he starts going into

the parables and seems to be talking

about the publicans and the sinners

right so we have the parable of the lost

sheep

so that lost sheep could be the

publicans and the sinners they’ve been

they’ve moved off on their own they’re

lost and they need to be brought

back in right the unhealthy the sick are

the ones that need a physician is

something that Jesus says the lost coin

for the with a woman lost and need to be

brought in looking at the publicans and

the sinners a lost prodigal son goes off

and like the steward he doesn’t handle

his stewardship very well the money

that’s been given to him his

responsibilities and he needs to come

back

and all of these instances give us a

couple of examples here that are really

important one is about the individual

it’s very important that we see that

each of these parables in each of these

parables there’s a real concern for the

individual not the collective but for

the individual and their repentance and

that they’ve been found and brought back

so that’s one key point but another one

is about covenant remember that covenant

is the splitting apart of being lost and

then coming back together again that’s

what the gospel is about that’s what the

plan of salvation is about and that’s

what these parables up to now have all

seemed to be about something is pulled

apart or lost and then brought back

together and what is the central who is

the central character in those examples

the central character in the lost sheep

is not the lost sheep it’s the shepherd

and how glad the shepherd is for finding

the one and he left the 99 to find the

one the central character is not the

money the coin that the woman lost it’s

the woman who is so happy that she found

the coin the central character even

though we call it the prodigal son again

if you listen to my episode on that and

you look at the Chi Asmus in there where

the center of that Chi Asmus is not the

son it’s the father the father is the

central figure in that story who is so

excited like the others that what he has

lost has come back and why the whole

emphasis on how exciting that is that is

the major thrust of what Jesus is

teaching in these parables is the

excitement I know there’s 99 other sheep

but how excited are you when you have

and when you find the one and you know

the

has the feast and how excited the woman

is when she finds the one and how

excited the father is when the prodigal

son comes back and they kill the fatted

calf and the other son is wondering

what’s going on that’s the focus of the

story not the lost person even though

the it does focus on the individual and

we understand that principle very well

the focus though is on the excitement of

the central character and what does that

excitement represent to me as I go

through that what it represents to me is

mercy it is mercy it is these things

have been lost and now they come back

and I’m not going to keep a judgment

like with the prodigal son hey other son

you’ve been doing a great job but I’m

not going to keep punishing this other

son who has now returned to me right I’m

I’m going to give mercy it is the higher

law that he is giving it is the higher

law that Jesus is focusing on here with

these parables of mercy and remember the

setting he is talking to the Pharisees

while the publicans and the sinners are

there and the Pharisees can’t stand that

he is there sitting with the

sinners and the publicans and Jesus is

trying to teach them this lesson about

mercy so what if we applied that same

law in that same emphasis that we’ve had

so far in those previous parables to the

parable of the lost or the parable of

the unjust steward here’s how this might

work the rich man or the master would be

the Lord as he seems to be represented

as the central figure in all of the

others and he has given out a

stewardship to someone who is not

handling things very well now we bring

in another character that perhaps we

haven’t fought

in this parable that does exist but is

unnamed and if we go back to verse one

we find this other character it says

here there was a certain rich man which

had a steward so there’s the there’s two

of the characters and the same was

accused unto him under the master under

the rich man that he had wasted his

goods in verse two he follows up when he

says how is it that I hear this of thee

so we have another character that we

haven’t probably thought about who is it

it’s the accuser and the accuser almost

always is a negative representation

remember that it’s Lucifer in the book

of Revelation in the pre-existence whose

title is John gives as the accuser and

if you go throughout all of the Gospels

Matthew Mark Luke and John they all

bring up accusers and accused and it’s

almost always with just a couple of

exceptions it’s almost always geared

toward the Pharisees and the scribes or

the high priests because in a trial

situation

it’s the accuser in a spiritual scenario

that is evil and it’s Christ who is the

Advocate who is the defender if you will

of each of us and so we have another

character here who is the accuser who is

the accuser so what if we applied that

same scenario and made the accuser the

Pharisees who even though they’re not

being talked to directly are certainly

there and they have accused the ones who

have not taking care of their

stewardship very well or the people that

are as we look at the other parables the

sinners well here Jesus is speaking to

the sinners and the publicans and the

Pharisees are accusing the publicans and

the sinners of being sinners and then

what is the example of the parable it’s

exactly what the public

do that’s what a publican is they work

typically for Rome or maybe other

jurisdictions under Rome and they go

around and they collect the taxes and as

they go around and collect the taxes

they grab a little bit more on top of it

for themselves

that’s why they’re hated that’s why they

are with the sinners and they usually

deal with money and they don’t deal very

well with it so what if the publicans

and the sinners here are the unjust

steward and we would point them out or

Jesus would point them out as the unjust

steward because that’s what the

Pharisees would label them and that’s

what all the Gospels label these

publicans and sinners and remember

Matthew was a publican he was a tax

collector and he became an apostle with

Jesus here so if these are the publicans

and the sinners maybe Jesus is reaching

out an olive branch so to speak to the

publicans and sinners who many

commentators believe in this exact

situation became converted and they who

had been publicans and sinners and were

come to judgment I mean here’s Jesus

right there in front of them they then

go out they reduce as Tallmadge would

say there take their cut of the money

and they bring back the original debt

back to the master and the master says

well done in other words they repent and

they do what they’re supposed to do and

become a part of the master and that

would make everything line up in this

parable that would make everything make

sense even what follows because what

follows then is that the Pharisees are

outraged about the this parable as well

as the others so they’re they understand

that they’re the accusers and that Jesus

is the judge and they’re not going to

have as Joseph Smith says they’re not

going to have him be their judge just

like Laman and Lemuel say about Nephi

and it would make sense going along with

the lower and the higher laws that Jose

Smith focuses on where the temporal

economy here is used as an example for a

spiritual economy it would make sense

going in with all of the previous

parables where we’re talking about

something being lost for a while and

then returned into good graces and it

would be consistent to be calling the

Pharisees the accusers here so that’s

another thought that I hadn’t seen

before a read before that we could look

at as an example of what Jesus might be

doing here with this parable I’ll talk

to you next time

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