Bethlehem College & Seminary Chancellor and DesiringGod.com founder John Piper has stated that Jesus Christ did not support dishonesty in the parable of the "Unjust Steward."
Also called the "Parable of the Dishonest Manager," the story, found in Luke 16:1-9, centers on an unnamed manager who, upon learning he will be fired, purposely lowers the amounts that debtors owe his superior.
"The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings," concluded the parable.
In an episode of "Ask Pastor John" that was posted online on Wednesday, a listener inquired about what the parable meant for believers, namely "what are the implications for Christians today?"
Piper responded that there were two important points being made with the parable, the first being that Jesus was noting how nonbelievers can be more shrewd in dealing with their own than Christians, but that this ability is ultimately moot.
"I think the point of saying that is that Jesus is saying, 'It may be true that you poor, benign Christians don't know how to be smart in this world's affairs. That may be true. But guess what? It is utterly insignificant compared to the wisdom I am about to teach you in the next verse about how to use money to secure your future — namely, your ultimate future, your eternal future,'" said Piper.
"In other words, 'Maybe you aren't that shrewd when it comes to the stock market, but guess what? Who cares? You've got a billion years to enjoy your investment. These folks, they're going lose theirs in eighty years.'"
The second point being made, according to Piper, is that when speaking of "unrighteous wealth," Jesus is referring to worldly wealth, and that such wealth should be used to help others.
"So making friends with money means using your money to meet people's needs. That the way to lay up treasure in heaven that does not fail," continued Piper.
"Use your resources to do as much good as you can for the glory of God and the eternal good of others — others who will go before you and welcome you home."
The parable of the dishonest manager has also been the subject of an entry on the apologetics website GotQuestions.org, which argued that "Jesus is not saying that believers should gain wealth unrighteously and then be generous with it."
"'Unrighteous' in reference to wealth can refer to 1) the means in acquiring wealth; 2) the way in which one desires to use the wealth; or 3) the corrupting influence wealth can have that often leads people to commit unrighteous acts," stated the website.
"Given the way in which Jesus employs the term, the third explanation seems the most likely. Wealth is not inherently evil, but the love of money can lead to all sorts of sin."