Andrew Abernethy – Unjust Steward – 3rd Testimony – “Canea” Convention, Helena Valley, Western Australia – 1973

Luke 16:8, “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.” I have a great lot of pleasure in preaching the Gospel, telling the story of Jesus. We know what it can do for people, we know the result and the possibilities. We know what it has done for us, it is a reality, not a theory. I love the words of Jesus, every verse in this chapter spoken by the Lord. The Pharisees were covetous and they derided Him, Jesus spoke the words of eternal life and one day, they will have to face Him. They were unwilling to change their course in life, unwilling to be changed. Jesus was scorned by them, there is nothing better than the word of God going home to our hearts and changing us. We do not receive salvation by education or having a brilliant mind, no, only by the Lord Himself, being honest toward Him, willing to do what He would speak.
In this chapter, Jesus was speaking first to His own disciples. He spoke of an unjust steward, to show that our lives are not our own. This parable or story is to help us to understand this, that our lives are not our own. As we grow up this is our first thinking, that our lives are our own. We become 18 to 20 years of age and say, “I will do what I wish to do with my life,” but a revelation from God reveals to us that our lives are not our own. We do not have our own will. We do not have any say in the life that is thrust upon us in the first place, and we have no say in how long it will be taken away from us, no matter how much we want to stay. A President of the U.S.A. had a son 16 years of age. He played tennis and had a blister on the heel of his foot, infection set in, and though he obtained the best physicians that money and influence could buy, his son passed away. He spoke these words, “Though I was the President of America, there was not anything I could do to keep my son one more hour.” We are only caretakers of this life, looking after the property of another, some other day it is going to be the business of another, to see what we have done, and whether we are agreeing or not we will all be there. There will be no one laughing or light-heartedness there, when we stand before God, it will be deadly serious.
This steward was a steward to a rich man. He was a master and this man had wasted his master’s substance, the master heard of it and called the man in to give an account, for he could no longer be a steward. We are all going to leave our stewardship, either because we were disqualified, or we finished our term, we will all have to give an account. A few days ago, we travelled from Adelaide to Perth with an elderly lady. She was in the meeting here Wednesday night and took a stroke, and tonight she is in eternity. Her term of stewardship is over. I am happy to say that her last words were, “I am so thankful, I am so glad, I love the Lord, His people, His truth.” Lovely to see people walking through the valley of the shadow of death and not be afraid. “Mark the perfect man, for his end is peace.” A great way to finish; “This is the day I’ve lived for.” The Lord wants to give these things to us, it depends on us, and life is going very fast, it is slipping away. To see people going into eternity without God, it is a horrible thing. There is one man I knew aged 44, who knew the Truth and did not continue. He sold so much for so little. He had everything in this life, home, children, successful in business, no financial worries, he was stricken with an ailment and he said to his wife, “I had better go to these meetings.” Before he could he was passed into eternity. He was not a good steward, going out to face God, whom he had not served, had not feared, but only lived for the world. He was (this steward) now to lose his stewardship, compelled to move out. He said, “What can I do?” He was a shrewd man, he saw his master’s debtors.
The first man owed a hundred measures of oil. He thought to himself, “They will receive me into their houses when I have to move out of here,” so he made friends with the debtor, and told him to write fifty measures of oil. Jesus commended the unjust steward, not for his unrighteousness, but because he was a shrewd man, a wise man, thinking about the latter part of this life. He was making provision to live in this life. Jesus said that he was wiser than the children of light. The world is shrewder but only for this life, they are far more concerned than the children of light. There was a woman in her nineties, her husband died and left her well off, she needed to go to the dentist, but she felt she would not go because she was terrified that she did not have enough money. She had $1,000 in the bank so the dentist said, “Why not spend some of this money?” She said she was saving it for a rainy day. He said, “It’s pouring now, spend the money, provide for this life.” We are all going to move out. You make friends for yourselves, that when you fail you may be received in the eternal home.
Jesus commended the steward and said to His disciples, “You be as wise as the unjust steward.” You look after the property of the life to come; you have this life in your care but someday you will have to move out, you are a steward only. You are looking after the property of God. We better be careful, look after it as the property of someone else. We are to make friends of that which is eternal so that when we fail, or die, when we move out, we will have an everlasting habitation. What does it matter is we leave home here, we have an old shack now but the offer of a mansion. We would not worry about moving.
There was a wealthy lady who had a coachman, he was caretaker of the team and carriage. This woman had a dream. She was up to the mansions above, she was walking down the street and she saw one very beautiful mansion. So she asked the angel Whose is this? The angel gave her the name of her coachman. She went on a little bit further and saw an old broken-down shack, so she asked the angel, “Whose is that?” The angel gave her name. So she said, “How is it that on the earth, I live in the mansion and my coachman lives in the shack, and here, the coachman lives in the mansion and I live in the shack?” The angel replied, “Lady, we build these houses with material that we receive from you.” You make friends. Who are these friends? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the angels, we make friends with them, be found walking with them, one day we will be received into everlasting habitation. Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much, and he that is unjust in the least is also unjust in much.” “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” This is an indication of our character, if we are unjust in what is least, we will be unjust in much. If we are diligent in that which is least, we will be diligent in that which is much. If we have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, why is it called unrighteous mammon? It is our substance, our homes, our resources, it is unrighteous mammon then we compare it with the eternal riches that is the comparison. It is the property of another that we handle. This is unrighteous treasure on the earth.
If we have not been faithful in what is another man’s property, how will God commit to us the Bernal riches? Sometimes we read of a cashier embezzling other people’s money for his own use, they mean to pay it back, then they get sent to prison until the last farthing is paid. They are using the funds of other people. Can we do this spiritually? Having our lives and substance all bound up in ourselves, using what is another’s for ourselves. One day, I was at a bus stop and there was a drunk there who said he had been waiting two hours for a bus. I said to him that there must have been other buses go past. He said, “I get so cold waiting for a bus that I get back inside and get another drink.” He said, “Being drunk is my business.” This is not our own business, we are the property of another. If we are not faithful in that which is temporal, how can we be faithful in that which is going to be everlasting? I pitied that drunk, throwing away his life, I pity him because he is on the wrong track, and one day, he will have a horrible harvest. No man can serve two masters, no one can do that, no one can go in two directions at the same time.
Millions in religion are living madly for the world on one hand and saying that they can serve God, too. No one can do it, no servant can do it. Either we will love the one and hate the other. The Pharisee people were covetous, they loved money and the teaching of Jesus was condemning them. This was taking away their props so they were mocking him. Jesus said, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts, for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” These people were seeking to be very correct outwardly, but Jesus showed them that God knows your heart, God looks most where men look least. What is inside is so important with God. What is highly esteemed among men out in the world? Living for pleasure, having the esteem of men, the lust of flesh, lust of the world, greed, and selfishness, but it is all an abomination to God. I hope we can understand that, and that we are living for something vastly better. One night, there was a party of people going by car to a wedding in a town called New Hope. It was dark and they did not know where they were, so they asked a highwayman, “How far to New Hope?” He answered with a smile, “If you reverse and turn around it will be 5 miles, but if you keep going it will be 24,955 miles.” If we reverse our own way, not follow our own dictates. We have in America these hippies, hippies and in this life they are having a horrible harvest, to say nothing of the life to come. They are missing everything worthwhile in this life and the life to come. They have lost their sense of direction. Jesus said, “Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another committeth adultery, and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” I used to think one time that that verse does not belong there, but I know now that it does belong there. This speaks of the Pharisees’ way of living. It was unclean lust, they had unlawful appetite, and they were creatures of lust.
This chapter is all one story, and the last of the chapter speaks of what Jesus had been saying. There was the rich man who was living in lust, selfish, hard of heart, clothed in purple, fared sumptuously every day, went where he wanted to go, all for himself, he was not a good steward, and he was not looking after the property of another. Lazarus would have appreciated what the rich man was wasting. Lazarus speaks to us of those in Hebrews 11 who were destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy. They were looking for and living for a better resurrection. Lazarus could have helped that man but the rich man could not see that. The rich man would not see what Lazarus saw, but Lazarus would not see that the rich man was right either. They were looking from different points. There was no feeling in the rich man, no feeling of his own need.
One day, his term was over, his stewardship was over, the angels were waiting for Lazarus, and they carried him to Abraham’s bosom where he had an everlasting habitation. In life time, the rich man would have scorned Lazarus, but now an eternal, everlasting habitation, can we wait a few years? We are going to have the best of it. The world pity us now, they do not see it, but some day, the only thing in all the world will be the truth as it is in Jesus. We will be on the popular side then, having an everlasting habitation. The rich man also died and in all likelihood, had a good send-off. $25 will buy you a good send-off with most of the clergymen, but it is not the send-off that matters so much, it’s the reception that we receive on the other side that matters most. Someone once said, “You know where there’s a will there’s a relation.” Sometimes people with a lot of money have a big send-off.
The rich man in hell lifted up his eyes and saw Lazarus comforted. He was tormented in a flame. The rich man had cultivated the lust of the flesh, he had lived for it, but now there was no tobacco, no games, he could take nothing with him now. Sometimes people say they cannot live without tobacco, without drink, one day, they will have to live without it in eternity. Now the rich man could understand and there is a day coming when we will all see this, whether we think so or not. The angel said, “Remember, in life time, Lazarus had no comfort, but he is now comforted through ill eternity and you are tormented. There is a great gulf fixed and there is no crossing.” In America, there is a highway with a lake on each side. On the north side the water goes into the Arctic Ocean, on the south side the water goes to the Atlantic Ocean. The rain that falls onto the road, some goes towards the north, some goes towards the south. We are sitting in the meeting tonight and if we take the word to our hearts we can go towards Heaven, towards eternity, or we can go the other way. We have the choice to make. Good if we would make friends with the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the host of angels, they will receive us throughout all eternity.