In this series I’ve been looking at the Parable of the Shrewd Manager as a primer on workplace evangelism.
The third lesson from the parable is found in verse 8: “And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. Luke 16:8 (emphasis added).
Jesus emphasizes that the manager, while commendably shrewd, was dishonest. The manager was dishonest because the money he used to make friends was not his, but his employer’s. By reducing the bills of customers for his own purposes without his employer’s permission the manager was, in effect, stealing from his employer. It was dishonest.
If you’ve ever shared the Gospel at work or thought about doing so, your probably felt conflicted. You knew you were not being paid by your employer to share your religious beliefs with your coworkers but to work. The conflict you felt may very well have been the Holy Spirit. In trying to fulfill the Great Commission you risked breaking the Eight Commandment.
As a practical matter, how likely do you think it is a coworker will feel comfortable enough at work to let their guard down, repent and pray to receive Jesus? Conversely, few employers will have a problem with you building stronger relationships and using your work environment as an opportunity to become friends with your co-workers. I don’t know of any employer who wouldn’t want his employers to work better together.
And if you take advantage of that opportunity and use money to build those relationships and show your coworkers and others in your extended workplace you really care about them, I think you will find the opportunity to invite them to church or share the Gospel will come quite naturally. And when that opportunity comes it won’t feel awkward or forced, and you won’t have to steal time from your employer to do it.
After Jesus finishes His lessons from the Parable of the Shrewd Manager, Luke notes the Pharisees “who were lovers of money” were scoffing at Jesus. Luke 16:14-15. Jesus had previously rebuked the Pharisees using people to get their money and for their greed. Matt. 23:14, 25. And here, the Pharisees recognized again that Jesus was getting at them as well.
The Pharisees used people to get money; Jesus was saying to use money to get people. And that, in a nutshell, is the message of the parable. GS