Jesus extolled the virtues of a slippery, self-serving money manager to teach on the wise and godly use of wealth.
The troubling teaching is recorded in Luke 16. It’s the story of a wealthy patron who decided to change money managers…
When his financial secretary got wind of this, he devised a clever plan to use his client’s wealth turn debtors into friends.
He skillfully used a law against loaning money at interest to his advantage. Jewish Law forbade loaning at interest. The rich dodged this by padding the amount “borrowed” when they loaned money. If you borrowed five bushels of grain to feed your family, the loan was recorded as ten bushels.
The crafty money manager instructed each of his patron’s debtors to halve the amount owed.
Summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty’… The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness.
Brilliant strategy! The lender couldn’t complain without admitting he’d broken the usury laws. He was trapped. But the slippery money manager “bought” friends who had his back. The rich man admired these adroit business skills.
Jesus told this story to illustrate the wise use of wealth and lay bare the timeless truth that should guide our use of all God has given us.
Verse 9 proclaims the wise use of wealth.
And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
How do we use money to build a heavenly friends list? By funding the proclamation of the gospel! Give lavishly to ministries missions and evangelism. You become God’s partner in drawing others into eternal life.
Wise use of wealth populates heaven with friends to share your eternal joy.
But there’s more.
Verses 10-11 declare a timeless truth about real wealth.
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
God will reward your faithful stewardship of “unrighteous wealth” (earthly treasure) with true kingdom wealth!
My father often said, “No pockets in a coffin!”
You can’t take it with you but you can send it ahead.
Is it time to reevaluate your investment plan to redirect a larger share to God’s mission?