You find yourself in a group of men from all religions, the entire spectrum of politics, parenting styles, food preferences, automobile choices, sexual orientations, gender identities, and favorite breakfast cereals. Some even have the nerve to root for a rival sports team! What do you do?

  • Run away as fast as I can and never look back.
  • Don’t rock the boat and pretend that I agree.
  • Mount a Rambo-style assault with a fire and brimstone sermon.
  • Attempt to listen/meet the others where they’re at while holding my core beliefs.
  • Other __________.



The Parable of the Shrewd Manager builds on the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (Luke 15). Jesus has been on a roll, showing the importance of searching for lost souls and welcoming back even the lowest of the low. Each “lost” story kicks it up a notch from an inanimate object (coin) to an animal’s instinct (sheep), to the naivete of a young man. The parable in Luke 16 is also about a lost soul, this time a manager wandering out there trying to comfort himself with financial algorithms and legal rationalizations.


God’s Story

Have someone read Luke 16: 1-15. As you listen to this story being read, imagine yourself as one of the debtors, the master, the manager, or as one of the Pharisees targeted by Jesus.


Finding My Story in God’s Story

1. Where in this story do you find yourself? Why there?

  • I’ve been called out by upper management for not performing as expected.
  • I’m the guy holding someone’s else’s debt, glad for partial repayment.
  • I’m the debtor, glad to finally catch a break.
  • I love playing with other people’s money, especially if it benefits me and them.
  • It’s scary to be entrusted with another’s property or wealth.


2. If you were auditing the books for this master’s company, what would you think is going on here? What would you find criminal? … commendable? … okay, but cringe-worthy?

  • I’d call out the manager as criminal for defrauding his master.
  • One who gets a fair price—and can circumvent OT law (Deuteronomy 23:19-20) about not charging interest to fellow Jews—should be commended.
  • Nothing illegal going on, just a savvy businessman getting a fair return for his master AND winning favors for his own future well-being among the debtors.
  • I’m confused, as this manager seems both criminal and commendable.
  • Other __________.


3. Now put yourself in the sandals of the manager manipulating the numbers to your favor. Why are you operating this way?

  • I’ll only do this until I have enough and then I’ll stop.
  • With my position I can really take advantage of these fools.
  • I may fudge the numbers but I’m basically a good person.
  • If I keep up a pious front no one will suspect what I’ve really been up to.
  • I’ll deal with my conscience in the hard light of God’s truth…tomorrow.


4. After the master dismisses the manager for wasting his possessions, he catches him a second time doing more of the same. But in a surprise move, instead of prosecuting the manager, the master admires his shrewdness. What might the master be thinking?

  • I hope he learns some things are more valuable than money and possessions.
  • His cheating was wrong, but I can’t bring myself to fire him because __________.
  • I might find myself in the same spot one day, so I’d hope for mercy as well.
  • He was a good manager when we started; I wonder when he started to slip?
  • Other __________.


5. Jesus suggests that if you have not been trustworthy with worldly wealth, you cannot be trusted with true riches. What “true riches” might Jesus be referring to?

  • Loyalty and good stewardship to those you work for.
  • Kindness and charity to those in need.
  • Generosity and tolerance toward those still learning the ropes.
  • Forgiving and welcoming all lost people, as God welcomes us.
  • Other ___________.


6. Why do the Pharisees “sneer” at Jesus for telling this parable?

  • They measure their success in terms of wealth and possessions.
  • They justify themselves in the eyes of men, not God.
  • They look in their hearts and don’t like what they see.
  • They take offense at anyone trying to shame or blame them.
  • Other ___________.


7. One day the manager will come with news that our time is up. So, where in your life could you use the manager’s shrewdness and forward-thinking before it’s too late?

  • With my family finances (a talk with parents, siblings, spouse, or children).
  • At work (a talk with my employer, fellow workers, suppliers, or clients).
  • With people I’ve wronged in the past, or with people who have wronged me.
  • Confront the man in the mirror; have an honest-to-God talk with myself.
  • Other ___________.


Our Story       

8. At first read, it’s disturbing to see the dishonest manager praised for bad behavior. Reading it again, what might be the bigger story or “takeaway” lesson?

  • The things we value “here and now” pale next to things that God values.
  • Outward appearances are deceiving, but God sees the heart of the matter.
  • We create our own karma by helping others, as what goes around comes around.
  • God entrusts us with little things as a test to see how we’ll handle true riches.
  • Other ___________.

9. Did another man’s story speak into your own life tonight, causing you to think of something new? What was it? Thank each man in the circle for the gift he brought.