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The Gospel of Luke teaches honesty

Columbia Biblical Studies: Tuesday, July 15
Columbia Biblical Studies: Tuesday, July 15
Petr Kratochvil

Today’s bible study is from the Gospel of Luke 16:10: 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.

One’s first reaction to this verse may be to cringe. It makes something inside us say, ‘Yes, isn’t that the truth!’ We all know people who have been dishonest, some who are very good at doing so and some who are not. The dishonest person simply cannot be trusted, with even a small amount of anything. Yet the person who can be trusted can be trusted with a great deal. We like to think that we are the person who can be trusted, and most of us are. Yet we all might feel just a twinge or something when we read this, knowing that either we or someone we know has not been honest and cannot be trusted.

The sixteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke speaks about the responsible use of money. It is a unit with a single theme, the responsible use of money and property. The section is framed by parables that begin with identical words: There was a rich man. The first section is addressed to disciples and the second to the Pharisees who are represented by greedy people. This may not be a historically accurate description, but it does serve the purpose of exemplifying sinful opponents of Jesus and his message.

To understand and appreciate today’s verse; we really have to back up a bit to the parable about the dishonest manager to which it refers. The manager was asked to give an accounting of his management. He did not know what to do, and argued with himself about what he should do. The manager then is considered to be a dishonest manager and the parable ends without comment.

Verse 10 speaks of little versus much. While the possession of wealth seems like a great thing in the present world, it is little in comparison with the true treasures of God’s kingdom and provides a test of faithfulness.

It is often difficult for us to be honest people and enjoy what little we have without yearning for more and bigger and better things. It is hard for us to be happy with one pair of shoes when we wish for twenty or with one second-hand car when we dream of owning a luxury automobile. But, while we may want these things, they are temporary. They will wear out, become old, break down and be forgotten. In the sands of time they amount to nothing. True wealth, wealth that cannot be measured since it is beyond measure, is the wealth of God’s kingdom. And, as children of God, we can all be very, very rich indeed.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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