1 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "There was a certain rich man who had a property manager who was reported to be squandering his possessions. 2 So, he called his property manager in and said to him, 'What is this that I hear about you? Turn in a [full] report of [all] your financial transactions, for you are not working for me anymore.'
3 Then the property manager said to himself, What am I going to do since my master is taking away my job? I am not strong enough to dig [i.e., as a farm laborer], and I am too ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I will do, so when I am fired they [i.e., his master's customers] will welcome me into their homes.
5 So, he called on each one of his master's customers and said to the first one, 'How much do you owe my master?'
6 And he replied, 'Eight hundred gallons of [olive] oil.' And he said to him, 'Take your contract and quickly sit down and write in four hundred [gallons].'
7 Then he said to another [customer], 'And how much do you owe [him]?' And he answered, 'One thousand bushels of wheat.' The property manager said to him, 'Take your contract and write eight hundred [bushels].'
8 So, his master commended the dishonest property manager for his shrewdness. For worldly people are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of light [i.e., God's people]. 9 Therefore, I tell you, make friends for yourselves by using worldly wealth, so that when it fails [i.e., when you run out of money] they [i.e., the friends you made with its wise and benevolent use] may welcome you into the eternal [i.e., heavenly] dwelling places. [Note: The idea here seems to be that by your shrewd use of material possessions for the benefit of others, you are actually storing up treasures for yourself in heaven]. 10 "The person who is trustworthy in regard to very small matters, [such as material possessions] is also [likely to be] trustworthy in regard to large matters, [such as spiritual values], and the person who does not do what is right in very small matters is also not [likely] to do what is right in large ones. 11 If therefore you have not been trustworthy in worldly wealth, who will put you in charge of the true [spiritual] riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with what belongs to someone else, who will give you something of your own? 13 No person can serve two masters, for he will either hate the one and love the other, or else he will cling to the one [i.e., as a close friend] and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and material things [at the same time].'"
14 Then the Pharisees, who loved money, heard these things and sneered at Jesus. 15 And He said to them, "You are people who claim to be just in the eyes of [other] people, but God knows [what is in] your hearts. For that which is held up as most important among people [i.e., fame or fortune ?] is disgusting in the eyes of God.
16 The law of Moses and the prophets prophesied [See Matt. 11:13] until [the time of] John [the Immerser]. From that time onward the good news of the [coming] kingdom of God is [being] preached, and everyone is [attempting to] enter it forcibly [i.e., before its appointed time. See Acts 1:6-7]. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away [i.e., to be destroyed. See II Pet. 3:3], than for one portion of a letter of the law of Moses to be dropped.
18 "Every person who divorces his wife and marries another woman becomes sexually unfaithful to her [i.e., because he is still regarded by God as married to his first wife. See Matt. 19:9]. And the person who marries someone who has been divorced by her husband commits sexual sin with her [i.e., because she is still rightfully married to her first husband].
19 "Now there was a certain rich man who was dressed in purple [clothing] and soft linen [garments] and who lived every day in pleasure and luxury. 20 And a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was full of sores, was laid at the rich man's doorway. 21 He longed to be fed with scraps that fell from the rich man's table and even dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it happened that the beggar died and [his spirit] was carried away by angels to a place close to Abraham. And the rich man also died and [his body] was buried. 23 And in the unseen place of departed spirits the rich man, who was being tormented, looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus close beside him. 24 And he shouted out, 'Forefather Abraham, take pity on me and send Lazarus [to me], so he can dip the tip of his finger in water [and touch] my tongue to cool it, because I am in agony in these flames.'
25 But Abraham said [to him], 'Son, remember how you enjoyed good things when you were alive [on earth] and how Lazarus had to put up with bad things? But now here [i.e., in the unseen place of departed spirits] he is being comforted and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, there is a huge chasm situated between us and you so that those who wanted to go from here to there [where you are] cannot do it. And no one can cross over from there to us [over here].'
27 Then the rich man said, 'I beg you therefore, forefather [Abraham], that you would send Lazarus to my father's house, 28 where I have five brothers. Then he could warn them so that they will not [have to] come to this [terrible] place of torment also.'
29 But Abraham said, 'They have [the writings of] Moses and the prophets; let them pay attention to them.'
30 Then the rich man said, 'No, forefather Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, [then] they will repent [i.e., change their hearts and lives].'