Luke 16:1-18

A story about a man who thought carefully

1 Jesus told another story to his disciples: ‘A rich man had a servant who worked for him. The servant took care of the money and things that belonged to the man. Then some people told the rich man that his servant was wasting his master's things. 2 So the master sent someone to bring his servant to him. He said to his servant, “I am hearing bad stories about you. So write down everything that you have done with my money and my things. Then you must stop working for me.”

3 “I must think about what I can do,” the servant said to himself. “My master will not let me work for him any longer. I am not strong enough to dig in the ground. I would be ashamed to ask other people for money. 4 I must stop working for my master. But I know what I can do so that people will then accept me into their homes.”

5 Many people had a debt that they had not paid back to the master. So the servant told those people to come to him. He asked the first man, “How big is your debt to my master?” 6 The man replied, “I have to give him 100 barrels of oil.” The servant said to him, “Here is the paper with your debt written down on it. Take the paper. Sit down now and write 50 barrels there.”

16:6A barrel is like a large, round, wooden box that contains water or oil.
16:6The man had a big debt to pay, but the servant made it only half.

7 He asked the next man, “How big is your debt to my master?” The man replied, “I have to give him 100 baskets of wheat.” The servant replied, “Here is the paper with your debt written down on it. Take the paper and write 80 baskets.” ’

16:7The debt was large but the servant made it smaller.

8 Jesus then said, ‘The servant in the story was not honest. But his master spoke well about what he had done. It would help the servant later in his life. People that do not obey God think carefully. They know how to do well with people who are like themselves. But people who live in God's light often think less carefully. 9 So I tell you this. People may get money in wrong ways. But you should use it to do good to those who need help. Then they will be your friends. You will die, one day. Then those people will be happy to see you in that place where people live for all time.

10 If you can trust a person with a very small thing, you can also trust him with bigger things. And if you cannot trust a person with a very small thing, you cannot trust him with big things. 11 So if people cannot trust you with money in this world, nobody will trust you with really valuable things. 12 And if people cannot trust you with other people's things, nobody will give you things for yourself.

13 A slave cannot work for two masters at the same time. Maybe he will hate one of the masters, but he will love the other one. Or he will work well for one master, but he will think bad things about the other one. God and money are like different masters. You cannot work for both of them.’

14 The Pharisees heard all this. They loved money very much, so they laughed at Jesus. They said to him, ‘You are wrong.’ 15 Jesus replied, ‘You are happy when people like you. You want them to think that you are good people. But God sees inside you. He knows what you are thinking. The things that many people think are valuable are not valuable to God. He hates those things.’

16:15People thought that the Pharisees were important people. They thought that the Pharisees were very good people. They thought that they obeyed God. But God knew that it was not true. They wanted people to think well of them. This was more important to them. But what God thought was not important to them.

16 Jesus then said, ‘The books of God's Law and God's prophets spoke God's message until John the Baptist came. Since then, God's servants tell people the good news about the kingdom of God. Everyone is now trying very much to get into that kingdom. 17 But this does not mean that anyone can destroy God's Law. One day, the earth and the sky will finish. But until that time, nobody can remove even a small thing from God's Law.

18 A man must not send his wife away and then marry another woman. If he does that, it is the same as if he had sex with another man's wife. Also, if a woman has left her husband, another man must not marry her. That is the same as if he had sex with another man's wife.’