God or Money? (Luke 16:1-13)

 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’  5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’  6 “ ‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied.  “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’  7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’  “ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.  “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ 

8 “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. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?  13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”  (Luke 16:1-13)

Learn it:

            Chapter 16 is a section that focuses on how we steward our resources.  This first parable is a difficult one because the person we are to learn from is a dishonest manager.  A manager is fired by the owner because he has not been handling his resources well.  The manager decides to lower the bills for some people before he leaves.  The best way to understand how he can lower the bills is by him removing the commission he normally he would have made from them.  He is not harming the owner, but he is sacrificing his own money in hopes that people will be generous to him in the future.  This is the act of “shrewdness” that Jesus is approving of. 

            Verses 8-9 summarize the point of the story.  Just like worldly people give more thought to their physical well-being than righteous people give thought to their spiritual well-being.  We need to work hard at being generous with our money so that God will be pleased with how we handled the money he has given us.  Jesus makes it clear that we cannot serve God and money.  We must make sure we are making God the priority in our lives. 

Live it:

            Money is a touchy subject but something that our culture puts a high priority on.  As believers, we need to have a reputation for being generous and using our resources good.  We definitely should be giving to a local church, but our generosity should not stop there.  Are there other missionaries, seminaries, or other organizations that we should be supporting?  We cannot support every missionary nor can we fix every problem in the world.  But we should be playing our part by sacrificing some material want and giving that money to building the kingdom of God.  Money can have such a foothold in our lives, and we must fix our eyes on God and his mission.  Pray that God would allow you to have a generous heart and that you do not find your security in money.  You, and me, we should find out security in heaven and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  That is our priority.

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