Summary: Jesus wants you to use your final days and your money to win friends for your future: “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” (Luke 16:9).
This morning I want to put a bow on our series, Margin, by examining Jesus’ words on the important subject of money. In week one, we learned the value of contentment. In week two, we learned the value of saving for a rainy day. Last week, we saw something of the joy of giving. Today, I want you to experience financial peace no matter how much or how little passes through your hands. Later this year, our campus will encourage everyone of us to go through something called Financial Peace University. Whether we have little of it or a lot, money has a powerful impact on our lives. And few areas of our lives can cause the stress that financial problems cause. Again, I want you to experience financial peace in your life.
Jesus loves to teach in parables as we’ll discover in Luke 16. Now, Jesus taught in parables to disarm his listeners, and by doing so He was able to penetrate any hardness of heart or resistance to what He is saying. A good story has strong characters and Jesus’ story has a despicable character for us today – a truly dishonest man. Jesus puts His arms around this dishonest man and tells us to act like him. Why? Because money is a test for every believer. Jesus tells us how we handle our money is a test.
1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 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. 9 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. 10 “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. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for 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 God and money” (Luke 16:1–13).
Pay attention to the one, big lesson Jesus wants to teach you at the end of verse 11: “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Luke 16:11).
Earlier in this series, I told you there’s four things you need to concern yourself with money. The first is work because money comes from work. Second, you can spend money and most of us are really good at this. Third, you can give money which can impact people in need. Fourth, you can save your money. You can add a fifth option to this: using your money to secure equip your future. Your eternal future is secured by Christ and His rich grace. But you can use the resources today to furnish you eternal tomorrow.
Now, using money wisely is not about math but behavior. The difference between where you are and where you need to be is changing your behavior. By changing your habits, you can add margin to your life and reduce your financial stress.
1. A Story with a Twist
Out of all of the parables Jesus told, people find this one the most puzzling. The story begins with a boss firing money manager for mishandling his money only to have the same boss praise the same man for stealing his money! Anyone confused yet? Note carefully that Jesus is no longer speaking to the Pharisees (as He did in Luke 15) but now, He’s speaking to His disciples.