(Luke 16: 1 – 28) Jesus spoke about money more than virtually any other subject (including prayer and heaven). Twelve out of his thirty-eight parables are about money or possessions. As Billy Graham put it, _‘If a person gets their attitude towards money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in their life.’_
Jesus teaches us how to get a right view of money. He starts with the rather strange parable of the dishonest manager, who is commended for his shrewdness.
1. Money is a tool:
The people of this world are often more sensible, thoughtful, prudent and wise than the people of God in understanding that money is a tool. The dishonest manager is commended for his shrewdness in seeing this. The reality is that money can be a tool for eternal benefit. ‘I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings’ (v.9).
Jesus taught on the wonder of being with him for eternity in the parables of the great banquet (14:15–24) and the prodigal son (15:11–32). Here, we are reminded that the use of our money on earth can have eternal consequences. One of Jesus’ primary concerns was to see the good news of the kingdom of God being preached (16:16). Your money can be used to see God’s rule and reign coming in to people’s lives – with eternal consequences.
2. Money is a test:
Jesus is not commending the dishonest manager for his dishonesty. Indeed, the opposite is the case. He goes on to say, _‘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. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?’ (vv.10–11)._
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Be an honest and trustworthy steward of everything God has given you, including your money. *The more trustworthy you are with money, the more God will give you ‘true riches’.*
3. Money is a threat:
Jesus says, _‘No one can be a slave to two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot be a slave to both God and Money’ (v.13)._ As Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, ‘Our hearts have room for only one all-embracing devotion, and we can only cleave to one Lord.’
Money is to be used, but not loved. Don’t love money and use people. Love people and use money.
The threat is that love of money leads to hatred of God (v.13). The Pharisees loved money (they were ‘money-obsessed’, MSG) and sneered at Jesus (v.14). Have the opposite attitude to money. ‘Despise’ it (v.13). In other words, treat it with contempt by giving generously and focusing your love not on money, but on God who ‘knows your hearts’ (v.15).