Jesus & {Your?} His Money: Part 4 - Money as a Tool for Heavenly Treasure

September 15, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement

This is the fourth in a series of reflections on Jesus’ teaching about money and wealth in the Gospels. Randy Alcorn, writing in The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving, says, “15 percent of everything Christ said relates to this topic – more than his teachings on heaven and hell combined” (p. 9). How does Jesus want us to think about money? How does the Gospel affect our attitude toward the use of money? Join me on this multi-week exploration of what Jesus teaches about money.

One of the most difficult parables of Jesus to make sense of is the parable of the dishonest manager in Luke 16:1-9. Jesus tells the story of a wealthy man who discovers that his property manager (whatever form the “property” took) was “wasting his possessions” (v. 1). Upon learning of his imminent termination, this manager shrewdly refinances the accounts of several of his master’s debtors (perhaps reducing the interest rate or limiting his own commission). The master then commends the manager for his shrewdness.

How does this example of a corrupt, manipulative manager apply to the followers of Christ? Let’s look of Jesus’ application in verse 8-9:

The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 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.

Jesus does not commend the manager’s corrupt or manipulative use of his master’s money. He commends his shrewdness. The manager understood that money could be used as a tool to secure his future. That is the shrewdness of the “sons of this world.” Jesus commends that sort of perspective on money, just not for our earthly future but for our heavenly future. In verse 9 Jesus explains what this looks like for the “sons of light.”

1. Use money to touch the lives of others for eternity. This is what Jesus means by saying “make friends by means of unrighteous wealth.” The wealth we earn and manage in this life is called “unrighteous” because it does not win us favor in the sight of God. It actually can be poisonous if we allow it to become the treasure of our hearts. But we can use it to “make friends” for eternity. Missions. Evangelism. The ministry of the local church. Even acts of kindness. All needing funds to operate on a regular basis. All providing opportunities to touch the lives of people with the good news of Jesus Christ. And by faith in Jesus these friends will have “eternal dwellings.” Jesus is commending to us the perspective that money is a tool for eternal purposes.

2. Look to heaven as your storehouse. Unlike the dishonest manager, our storehouse of treasure and security is in heaven, not in this life. This is what Jesus implies when he says “when it [the wealth of this world] fails…” The wealth we earn and manage in this life will fail… it comes to an end. Jesus says don’t use your wealth to build up greater treasure and security on earth, but use it to store up treasure in heaven. Our treasure in heaven is God himself and our enjoyment of Him. Our enjoyment of God in heaven is maximized by our faithfulness as stewards in this life.

Randy Alcorn explains Luke 16:9 in this way, “Our ‘friends’ in heaven will be those whose lives we’ve touched on earth, who will have their own ‘eternal dwellings.’ Luke 16:9 seems to say our friends’ eternal dwellings are places where we stay and fellowship, perhaps as we move about the heavenly kingdom. The money we give to help others on earth will open doors of fellowship with them in heaven.” (40).

Next week we’ll look more closely at this concept of reward in heaven that Jesus references multiple times in the gospels. In the meantime, let’s be shrewd with the wealth God has entrusted to us.



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