Summary: We can learn financial tips for dealing with problems from anyone - even someone who exercised wise financial principles selfishly.

March 2, 2003 Luke 16:3-14

“Financial tips from a failing thief”


“There once was a man who went on an ocean voyage carrying a large bag of gold coins. The bag represented his entire net worth. A terrible storm blew up, and the call came for all hands to abandon ship. The man strapped the gold around his waist, jumped overboard, … and sank to the bottom of the sea. Here’s the philosophical question… “as he was sinking, did he have the gold? Or did the gold have him?”

Every Sunday that we have met together since the 2nd Sunday in February, we have been talking about what the Bible has to say about finances. We will conclude our series on this topic next Sunday morning. The reason that we are spending so much time on this topic is because money and the way you use it has a huge impact on your everyday lives. It impacts your marriage, your kids, and your future. We need to find out what directives God has given us to help us use His resources in the wisest way possible so that we do not become like that man who allowed his gold to destroy his life.

Last week, we began looking in Luke 16 at a parable that Jesus told concerning a financial manager who had used his master’s resources in a wasteful way. We learned or re-learned four truths that will safely guide us in the area of our finances if we follow them. They are:

1. God has resources.

2. God has chosen us to manage His resources.

3. God will require an accounting from us for how we managed His resources.

4. God will give a consequence based on His accounting of how we managed His resources.

The manager had used his master’s resources wastefully, so he had to face some negative consequences, one of which was losing his job. This created an immediate need for him, and the solution that he came up with to meet that need was rather creative so much so that his former master commended him for his actions. “Notice in particular Luke 16:8, “so the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.” What is Jesus saying? Just this. Many unbelievers are more wise in how they manage their money than believers are. Jesus isn’t praising this man for being dishonest, but he does say there are some things he did that we ought to learn from.”

So let’s do that. Let’s learn three steps to meeting the financial needs of our lives. These steps that we will examine will be specifically applied to finances this morning, but they can be used to deal with any need or problem that you might face. So don’t shut me down just because we’re talking about money. Once we examine these three steps, we will then see three statements that Jesus makes regarding our relationship to money and how we are to use it.

1. Look ahead to see the need. “what shall I do now?”

 His problem was coming. There was no question about it.

All of us have financial needs that are coming. “One morning you go out to your car and discover that the tread is [wearing thin]. In fact, the front tires are just about bald. You’re startled! You immediately wonder where you will find the funds for new tires. Stress begins to set in. Question? Do tires eventually wear out? Unless your tires are like the shoes and clothes of the Israelites while they were in the wilderness…you are 100% guaranteed that they will wear out! Could a person look ahead and see it coming? Yes. Should it be a surprise that causes financial stress? No.” Don’t be surprised by financial needs. Expect them.

 His problem was unavoidable. He couldn’t by-pass it.

 His problem was self-induced. He brought it on himself through his own actions.

Many of the problems that we face, financial or otherwise, are at least partially problems of our own making. Blaming other people for our mess will not get us out of it. Blaming others or making excuses will cause us to stay trapped in the mess much longer than we needed to. The biggest problem that we face – the sin problem – is a mess of our own making. We have all chosen to give in to temptation and have earned God’s wrath toward us. Once we accept that, once we take responsibility for the mess that we have made, our proper response is not to wallow in that mess with all its guilt and shame and kick ourselves for all the stupid mistakes that we have made. The proper response is to find a solution.

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