THE SHREWD STEWARD
Dr. Miles Seaborn
INTRO. We have deliberately chosen to change the
traditional title of this parable for the unjust
steward to the "Shrewd Steward". The emphasis which
Jesus placed upon the steward was the fact not that he
had acted unjustly but that he had acted shrewdly. It
is really not the part of the story that he acted
first unjustly. His master commended him not because
he had been unjust but because in a certain situation
he had been shrewd.
Words like people are colored by their associates.
Because of this association within the wholesome ideas
the word shrewd has taken on the taint of
unrighteousness. In the dictionary the secondary
meaning of the word is listed as cunning, wilely, as a
shrewd deceiver, but its primary or number one
definition in most dictionaries is sharp-witted, or
clever impractical affairs, keen, discerning, and
judicious, farsighted, as a shrewd businessman. The
Greek word translated here as wisely is phronimos.
The root word comes from he mind or discerning
intellect. It is exactly the same word that Jesus
used to tell his disciples to be as wise as serpents.
This adverb could really be translated more clearly as
shrewdly or discretely. Since the whole point of the
parable is to point out how a man acted discretely, or
judiciously in the given situation. We may well refer
to him as a shrewd steward in a better sense of the
Now remember as we study God's Word this morning,
let's don't become entangled on the many different
ideas involved in this parable. A parable intended to
teach only one truth. If we make an effort to press
every item of the story this can only ruin or spoil
the meaning which was intended. For instance, some
people misplace the emphasis and insist that Jesus
seems to endorse the unjust element in the steward's
conduct. Others in the story find that one may
purchase his interest ...
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