Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
I will be challenged by some who say that a good steward takes care of what God has given them. I agree, but looking at this provoking question of why Jesus would use a thief who Jesus knew from the beginning was the son of perdition, to manage the money of the disciples begs further analysis.
Scripture is very clear we are required to work with the system that we are IN but NOT OF. For one of many examples see where Paul used his knowledge of the Legal System and worked to legal system to not only save his life, but to extend his ministry in marvelous ways. As far as financial dealings, we don’t know much about how Paul dealt with financial matters other than he worked and paid his way by tent making, but we can see how Jesus and the disciples relied on Judas of Iscariot as their treasurer.
As we ponder this question, I’d like to offer more food for thought:
“Who is the better steward?”, I invite the reader to carefully study these 3 scriptures: Mark 12:16,17
16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s.
17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.
KJV; Luke 16:1-15 KJV
And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
5 So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall 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 hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
and Matthew 25:14-30KJV .
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Note: Although the scripture meanings have figurative meanings that have far reaching spiritual significance please understand the literal meanings are extremely serious. Also, note that one of the primary reasons Jesus used parables was to hide the meaning from those who are lost in order to prevent more serious judgement against them in the final judgement. For further reading on this subject please read: Matthew 13:13 New King James Version
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
In a practical sense, Who is the better steward?
Credit is the present use of future income. In other words, individuals who use credit (a.k.a., borrowers) use someone else’s money today (i.e., “OPM” or “other people’s money”) with an obligation to pay the borrowed amount back in the future.
a. One who never uses credit (someone else’s money) (other than perhaps a mortgage) and only makes wise purchases for goods and services based strictly on discretionary income
b. One who frequently uses credit, but never accumulates debt, avoiding paying interest on debt, and only makes wise purchases for goods and services based strictly on discretionary income.
c. One who always uses credit far beyond the limits of discretionary income, builds up maximum debt over time until the level of debt is unsustainable at which point the debt is written off in a legal bankruptcy, to make wise purchases for goods and services based on income based on extended credit far beyond the normal levels of the baseline discretionary income.
d. One who always uses credit far beyond the limits of discretionary income, builds up maximum debt over time until the level of debt is unsustainable at which point the debt is amortized over years and years in debt consolidation that now limit discretionary income far below normal levels of the original baseline.