THE WRITE-OFF OF THE UNJUST STEWARD (Continued)
Reading: Luke Chapter 16:1-17
16:1 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.
16:2 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.
16:3 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.
16:4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
16: 5 So he called every one of his lord's debtors [unto him], and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
16:6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
16:7 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.
16:8 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.
16:9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true [riches]?
16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?
16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
16:16 The law and the prophets [were] until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
The trade-off is seen in what the steward collaborated with the debtors to write off. His poor stewardship is clearly seen in the fact that he had to ask the debtors how
much they owed his lord. "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."
The first debtor owed one hundred measure of oil. He was allowed to write-off fifty measures of oil. Oil in Scripture is a type of the Holy Spirit. Fifty is the number of Pentecost. In this first write-off, The Power of God, The Comforter, The Teacher, The Purifying Fire, The Spirit of Truth, and The Fullness of the Spirit, have just been traded in a transaction to secure a mere worldly habitation. Not just any habitation, but again, one that is everlasting chaos and confusion. We will revisit this write-off later.
The other debtor owed one hundred measures of wheat. Wheat is a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Redemptive Work. Jesus said, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (John 12:24). Wheat is also a picture of the true Church. In Matthew 3:11-12, John the Baptist said Jesus would "baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and garner his wheat into the garner..." This debtor was allowed to write off twenty measures of wheat!
Twenty denotes expectancy and is used in the Bible in many key accounts of waiting. For instance, Jacob waited twenty years to obtain possession of his wives and property (Genesis 31: 38, 41). Twenty years the Ark of the Covenant waited at Kirjath-jearim (I Samuel 7:2). Solomon waited twenty years for the completion of the two houses (I Kings 9:10; II Chronicles 8:1). Since twenty signifies expectancy, what exactly then is our expectancy? Jeremiah 29:10-14 sheds great light on this matter for us. "For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not evil, to give you an expected end." (Underline added for emphasis).
We have an expected end in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our life, The Alpha and Omega. The steward allowed the debtor to write-off his expected end. The Apostle Paul had such understanding of his expected end in Christ he told the church at Philippi concerning his afflictions in promoting the Gospel, "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death." (Philippians 1:19-20). Paul’s advantage over the steward is found in his own words, "...I conferred not with flesh and blood." (Galatians 1:16). Paul never said "within himself" what he should do.