Someone who is faithful in a small matter will also be faithful in a large one. Someone who is dishonest in a small matter will also be dishonest in a large one. If you haven’t been faithful with that wicked thing called money, who is going to entrust you with true wealth? (16:10-11)
What constitutes “faithfulness” in this passage?
I think I have always answered that question the way Dave Ramsey or Larry Burkett might want me to. “Faithful” means managing your money in such a way that you do not lose it and maybe you even gain more. Faithful is financial.
But then I see the word “dishonest” in verse 10, so maybe faithful is ethical. Being faithful with money means not cheating your employer or not selling junk bonds or something like that.
Then we keep reading on in the chapter and I am wondering if Luke doesn’t tell us himself what “faithful” means. Luke gives us a story contrasting the life of a rich man who has “received good things” (16:25) but goes on to an eternal punishment and a poor man named Lazarus who would have settled for “scraps that fell from the rich man’s table” (16:21) but receives a blessed afterlife. The implication is that the rich man is being punished for how he has treated or, maybe better said, neglected Lazarus. If Luke intends for us to read these stories together, then “faithful” is social. To be faithful means to be compassionate, to care for others, and to use the money with which God entrusts us to ensure the people in our life have what they need, not simply to serve our own interests.