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. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
One of the characteristics of Luke's gospel is his concern for the poor. Both of the parables in Chapter 16 (The Parable of the Shrewd Manager, and The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus) deal with money management. Jesus never condemns those who have a lot of money. He is more interested in what one does with their money in relationship with those around them. Jesus taught a lot about the use of money. In fact, 16 of 38 parables talk about money.
In both parables he is teaching what biblical stewardship looks like. In the first parable a man's manager is wasting his money, so he has in mind to fire him. When the man realizes he will be in a bad position if he gets fired, he gives each of the debtors a discount. He figures at least after he gets fired these people might treat him favorably. His manager commends him for being a shrewd manager. Jesus summarizes the parable by saying, if this is how the world works in its handling of wealth, how much more should his disciples use money wisely.
In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, it is all about how do we use our wealth in this life. Do we worry only about our own security and comfort? Or, do we use what we have been given to help those in need. Notice the difference between the man who lives in rich luxury, with Lazarus who is just longing for a crumb to roll off the rich man's table. Since he is locked out at the gate, even that can't happen. But when the time came for both of them to die, there was a great reversal. The rich man was agonizing in hell and begged Lazarus to cool his tongue with a drop of water. Unfortunately it was too late.
So in essence if we are given wealth in this life, the question is how are we going to manage it? Will we be as shrewd as the dishonest manager? Will we have as much motivation as he did to manage the riches God has given us? And secondly, if we are given wealth in this life, do we see those around us in need? Do we ignore the Lazarus' at our gates? In both parables there are eternal implications for how we use the riches we are given in this life. To those who are given much, much is required. If Jesus taught so much about how to use money, we might want take a look at how we use what we are given.