Preparing for the Next Life - The Warrior's Journey®

Preparing for the Next Life

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:8-9). 

The “The Parable of the Unjust Steward,” found in Luke 16:1-9, has puzzled many students of the Bible. But as the parable unfolds it becomes clear what the steward’s been up to. He’s concocted a system by which he inflates the lending rate to his master’s debtors. If one of the debtors owes the steward’s master 80 bushels of wheat, the steward’s increased it to debt to 100 bushels. This way the master gets his due while the steward gets the excess.   

The system was working just fine for the crooked steward – until he was exposed. Then, he immediately lost all his power, privileges, and access to his master’s money. Now he’s losing his job and is facing criminal prosecution. How did he deal with it?  Realizing his time was short, he decided to “prepare for the next life” using the only means available to him. He took a copy of the ledger and went to each debtor.  To each debtor he asked, “How much do you owe my master?”  The debtor replies, “100 bushels of wheat.”  The steward looks down at the ledger and sees the debtor really only owes fifty (instead of the inflated sum) and tells the debtor, “Let’s change it to fifty.”  “Wow!” says the debtor. “Thanks so much! How can I ever repay you for this bargain?” the debtor asks. “Maybe someday I’ll ask a favor of you,” the steward replies.   

Now honestly, the unjust steward is not really giving out any bargains. But he is “righting wrongs.” He knows he’ll never be able to collect anything from the inflated payments, so he corrects all the bills so that they reflect the proper “amounts due.” And, by his shrewdness, he wins a ton of friends in the process – hoping they will help him in his next life as an unemployed steward. 

Aren’t we faced with such a dilemma? Our days on earth are also numbered, as are our opportunities to prepare for the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9-10). So, with our remaining moments, we must use whatever temporary resources we have (“the mammon of unrighteousness” – i.e. material wealth) to give generously to those in need and to support the cause of the Gospel. By giving to God what we cannot keep, we gain what we cannot lose: Reception into our Heavenly Father’s House and Christ’s welcome, “Well done, you good and faithful steward. Enter into the joy of your Master” (Matthew 25:14-30). 


  • Do we have the same sense of urgency to prepare for the future as the steward? 
  • Does Christ’s Judgment Seat factor into our plans and priorities? 
  • We will one day stand face to face with Christ. Let’s prepare for that day. 

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