8And 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. 9And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. (Luke 16: 8-9)
The parable of the unjust steward should actually called "The Parable of the Gracious Master", since this parable follows after the three Parables expounded on the grace of God, featured in the Son (The Good Shepherd), the Holy Spirit (The Widow seeking the Lost Coin), and the Parable of the Loving Father.
In every one of these parables, and throughout the Bible, we have to read to see more of Jesus, not ourselves, to see more of the love of the Father for us (1 John 2: 14-15).
Man is obsessed with trying to be good, with trying to live by the rules, with giving off an appearance of righteousness
The truth is that man is dead, and he needs life. The issue is not just that we are bad, but we are dead in our trespasses, and need a new spirit.
Jesus faulted the religious leaders during His earthly ministry:
"Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?" (John 7: 19)
He also declared what He came to bring. Not steps to make man's life better, or to improve his outer conditions:
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10)
Now let us consider Luke 16.
The rich man is a picture of our Daddy God.
When we try to work for him, or give the pretense that we can serve him, we are insulting God, for there is nothing that we can do for God.
The steward did indeed steal from this ruler, by the way, and in a similar fashion, man tried to take from God what God alone can give. Adam wanted to be like God, when God alone can know good and evil.
The unjust steward then plots to take from his master by forgiving the debts of other people who owe the master money.
In fact, everyone one of us have been forgiven all our debts forever through Christ Jesus' death on the Cross. He gives us this grace and peace, which we then can give to others:
"31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8: 31-32)
Now, the rich man commends the unjust steward. Finally, the steward is not pretending to be good.
What do we see in this?
God is inexhaustible in all that He has for us. We should not be afraid to take from Him and bless others. We should not relent in taking from Him his gifts of righteousness and abundance of grace (Romans 5: 17)
In fact, Paul writes to the Ephesians:
"31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4: 31-32)
"Forgive" is not rich enough. "Be gracious" is the proper word.
This graciousness is lavish and eternal, presented to us in the blood of Jesus, which cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1: 7) and speaks better things than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12: 24)
When reading Luke 16, it is important to see that Jesus is depicting His Gracious Father, and He does not want us to try to serve Him.