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Radical Devotion: No Room for Divided Loyalty (Luke 16:1-18)

Luke 16:1–18 - 1 Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. 2 “And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 ‘I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’ 5 “And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 “And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 “Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 “And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. 9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings. 10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” 14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God. 16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. 17 “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail. 18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery. What does today’s passage say? In this passage, Jesus tells a parable about a master whose dishonest manager who reduces the debts of people who owe money to his master to gain favor with them before losing his job (vv. 1-7). Jesus explains that people in the world typically act more shrewdly with money than those who live for the Lord (vv. 8-9). He then teaches that faithfulness with little prepares for entrustment with greater things, but dishonesty with little reveals one would also be dishonest with more. Additionally, no one can serve both God and money wholeheartedly (vv. 10-13). When the money-loving Pharisees ridicule Jesus, He confronts their hypocrisy in justifying themselves outwardly while greed fills their hearts. What is highly valued by people is detestable to God (vv. 14-15). Jesus states that while the law and prophets were proclaimed previously, now the good news of the Kingdom is being preached. Yet despite this new emphasis, even the smallest details of God's law still remain in effect (vv. 16-18). How can I apply Luke 16:1-18 to my life? Christians today face many pressures that can divide our loyalty between God and other pursuits like wealth and pleasing people. In this passage, Jesus addresses an unhealthy fixation on money that infests our hearts, eroding wholehearted devotion to God. He offers a sobering warning against coasting through life with one foot in the Kingdom and one foot clinging to worldly priorities that contradict His Word and ways. Jesus highlights the continuous battle within all believers against putting trust in money rather than recognizing God as our sole provider. He exposes our tendency to tolerate secret sins that hinder intimacy with Him and diminish spiritual impact. We must decisively reject divided loyalty, through aligning every attitude, ambition, relationship, and habit with loving and obeying Christ alone. This will require ruthless examination of competing allegiances. For followers desperate to walk in the radical obedience and faith modeled by Christ and the apostles, there is no room for wavering between God’s Kingdom and self-centered priorities that demand compromise. The only appropriate response is continually reaffirming undivided devotion to Jesus as Lord of our lives, supported through His Spirit and community. Here are some basic principles we should apply to our lives:

  1. Use Worldly Resources Wisely for Eternal Purposes (vv. 1-9): Jesus shares a parable praising the shrewd use of money by a dishonest manager about to lose his job. Though we should never accept or pursue dishonest gain, we must use material resources wisely to impact people spiritually. Be creative and thoughtful in utilizing jobs, finances, possessions, and skills to further God's Kingdom. Support gospel ministry, serve others generously, and freely share your faith. While money itself is not evil, loving it leads to sin. Ask God to guard your heart from greed and guide how to redemptively leverage resources. Maintain an eternal perspective, investing in heavenly treasure that endures. Just as the manager sacrificed earthly comfort to ensure a secure earthly future and boldly gave up temporal things to store up eternal riches in heaven. Take time to evaluate areas of excess and prayerfully consider specific ways to leverage resources for spiritual impact. Perhaps God is prompting you to increase giving, use a skill to serve others, or meet a practical need for a family facing hard times. As you walk in obedience, trust God to help navigate any pushback or challenges that arise (Luke 12:33-34, Acts 20:35, 1 Timothy 6:17-19).

Food for thought: Do I use money and possessions in ways that honor God and further His work? What changes might improve my stewardship?

  1. Faithfulness in Small Areas Prepares for Greater Things (vv. 10-13): Jesus teaches that using worldly wealth faithfully demonstrates readiness for greater spiritual responsibility. If we prove trustworthy with a little, He will entrust us with more significant eternal riches. Conversely, selfishness and dishonesty in seemingly minor areas reveal hearts not ready for God's greater purposes. Stay vigilant against compromise and lazy attitudes managing money or ministry. Run from the temptation of "just a little" sin. Execute your regular responsibilities and stewardship duties with excellence and focus on pleasing God above all else. Ask Him to develop integrity and faithfulness needed for expanded Kingdom impact. Keep pursuing spiritual growth through Bible study, prayer, discipleship, and fellowship. A lifestyle of wholehearted obedience in "little" areas daily prepares you for the greater weight of glory ahead. Consider making a list of current responsibilities and ask God to show any areas where your faithfulness needs strengthening. Lean on the Holy Spirit's power to build perseverance and consistency pleasing God in the small things (Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:11-27, 1 Corinthians 4:1-2).

Food for thought: Where might my faithfulness need strengthening today? What might God be preparing me for through my current duties?

  1. Reject Divided Loyalty and Pursue Undivided Devotion to God (vv.14-18): The Pharisees questioning Jesus loved money and scorned His teaching. Jesus exposed the foolishness of trying to serve God while clinging to worldly treasures and priorities. A divided loyalty between pleasing people and obeying God inevitably leads to loving one and hating the other. We cannot drift through life attempting to casually follow popular opinion while maintaining nominal spiritual allegiance on our terms. Wholehearted obedience demands decisively rejecting values contrary to God’s Word. Carefully examine whether any cultural messages or personal ambitions divert your focus from loving and representing Jesus. Pray for grace to uphold Scripture as the supreme authority guiding all moral convictions and decisions. Allow the Bible to confront and transform worldly assumptions still influencing your thoughts. God created our hearts to find fulfillment solely through loving Him. Therefore, decisively pursue undivided devotion. Fix your eyes on Jesus and joyfully relinquish anything hindering your supreme allegiance to Him. Evaluate relationships and activities taking time and focus away from intimacy with God. Consider fasting from distractions to refresh your devotion to Christ through His Word and prayer (Joshua 24:15, Matthew 6:24, 2 Corinthians 11:3).

Food for thought: Do my decisions consistently reflect undivided loyalty to Christ? What might need simplifying or removing so my focus remains solely on God? This passage challenges us to confront areas where divided loyalty erodes our devotion to God. Pursuing intimate fellowship with Christ demands decisively removing everything hindering loving and obeying Him alone. Just as Jesus confronted the Pharisees’ toxic legalism and love of money that weakened spiritual affection, He exposes any sin subtly warping our priorities today. Christ alone must reign at the center of our thoughts, values, and endeavors. We now live on this earth with a defined mission as His ambassadors. This elevates every conversation, decision, and activity as strategic opportunities to represent Jesus. Stewarding jobs, finances and possessions wisely positions us to proclaim Christ and meet people’s needs generously in His name. While culture promotes casual morality, cold legalism and loving the world, God calls us into radical obedience to Him fueled by grace, humility, and devotion to His Kingdom. The Bible provides our exclusive source for defining righteousness, sharpening conviction, and nurturing spiritual resilience to stand unwavering. May Jesus’ warning against divided loyalty prompt each of us to decisively reject every threat to single-minded obedience and adoration for Christ alone. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would search my heart and reveal any divided loyalty or area of compromise in my walk with You. Expose and root out any greed, selfishness, or people pleasing that distorts my decisions and diminishes intimacy with You. I ask You to ignite a greater passion for Your Word to fuel unwavering obedience and inform all my priorities and convictions with Your eternal perspective. I pray for deeper trust in Your fatherly provision and presence, protecting my heart from depending on money or possessions apart from You. Create a greater desire within me to leverage every conversation and practical resource You provide to advance Your Kingdom. Above all else, I pray for grace to fix my eyes on Jesus as my first love, choosing fellowship with Him over every temporary pleasure or comfort this world offers. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Luke 16:13 - “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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