I am sure you never came here today expecting financial advice. And while I am no expert on these matters Jesus is. Yet it is a different kind of financial advice that Christ offers us today, as he states, “You cannot serve God and wealth.” He is getting at something deeper here as he uses a story to compare for us the zeal for worldly wealth with the zeal for His kingdom.
We hear the story of a manager today, as unfaithful as he has been with his master’s wealth, when asked to give an account of what he has done realizes he has been caught. He has used his master’s wealth to propel himself forward in life, and yet at this point of being caught he still doesn’t give up.
I think there are a two major things to notice here, two lessons that we can learn from this story as Jesus teaches us how we should act in relation to his kingdom from the experiences of this unfaithful and dishonest manager.
Firstly, we can see the intensity, and the desperation, of the unfaithful manager. He realizes the situation he is in with being let go from his job; “I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.” And so he works diligently to find favor with his master’s debtors by forgiving them some of their debt, even though it is at the expense of his master. Furthermore, his master even commends him on this act, “… for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.” In today’s world many people are dedicated to developing worldly skills and in gaining knowledge to hold down a job or a career, but when it comes to faith there is not near the same amount of effort. From this the Lord is encouraging us to show the same intensity in spiritual matters, in living truth, in prayer, in our relationship with Him, as we make in our worldly efforts. If we could see how God sees us, as the rich man saw how his manager had been dishonest, how desparate would we be to further our spiritual cause. It is worth pondering!
The second lesson we can learn from this story is how to invest our wealth. “I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into eternal homes.” This is an interesting image Jesus uses to instruct us on how to use money (or as it is put, dishonest wealth); the dishonest manager used the money at his disposal to make friends who could help him in the next stage of his life. At some point money and worldly wealth will be useless to us, but how are we using our money and resources to bless others. Just as the world tells us to invest our money to reap words in the future, so too does the Lord. By giving it away to those most in need, those who will speak on our behalf, we are storing up or wealth in heaven.
So, as we have been entrusted with this “little” let us strive today to be faithful with it by putting spiritual matters ahead of wealth and the world, and by investing for our spiritual futures. Surely we cannot accomplish this alone, for the pull of the world is strong. We need to get on our knees and pray for God’s grace to grant us strength to prefer God to the world and also to grant us a spiritual desperation that would bring us a deeper desire for “thy Kingdom come and thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”
1 Timothy 2.1-7