Summary: One of the transformations that takes place in the life of a Christian is our perspective on material possessions. The scripture teaches that things are gifts from God--to be managed and shared.
Luke 16:1-13 “Management Training”
Heroes and antiheroes are a part of life. Parents might encourage their children to be like Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Bill Gates, or Mother Teresa. At the same time, few parents would point to O.J. Simpson as a good role model, or Kenneth Ley of the Enron scandal as someone who they would want to have their son or daughter emulate.
Reflecting life, the Bible has its share of both heroes and antiheroes. Of course, we are all supposed to be like Jesus. Other heroes are Moses, Esther, David, Mary, Peter and Paul.
The dishonest steward—the main character in this story told by Jesus is another antihero. Even though, he is commended by his master for his shrewdness and skullduggery, he is not the type of person after whom Christians are encouraged to pattern their lives. Still, there are things that we can learn from him, and Jesus does want to teach his listeners some valuable lessons on stewardship and evangelism.
The story of the dishonest stewards is summed up with this cryptic comment. “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the citizens of this world are more shrewd than the godly are. I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven.”
The world is filled with shrewd people who are all intent on making a lot of money as quickly and as easily as possible.
• A sure fire way to write a best selling book is to write one on how to get rich quick.
• There are scores of get rich quick infomercials on television.
• Billions of dollars are played in the lottery by people who have almost no hope of ever winning the lottery.
• Many people spend a lot of time and creativity pursuing financial success.
What would happen if we were as creative in witnessing and serving as we are in increasing our wealth? Jesus encourages us to be creative and to strive to bring the world into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
My dream for Desert Streams Church is to make us into a congregation that is a seedbed for entrepreneurial Christianity. This is to say that we encourage people to be creative in the use of their gifts and talents, and help them make their ministry and mission dreams become a reality.
Jesus goes on to teach the disciples that if they are trustworthy in a very little, they will be found to be trustworthy in much.
This understanding of trustworthiness and riches is quite different from our understanding. We look at our financial situation and say to ourselves, “If I only had a little bit more, I’d be able to pay my bills and give more.” Jesus is saying that we need to learn to pay bills and give on the amount of money that we have before we can think about getting more.
Contentment, being a blessing with our blessings, and living a life of service for God and for others is something that is always to be a part of our lives, and not just when we have some extra time or extra money.
WORSHIP ONLY ONE
Jesus closes his lesson on financial management with his disciples by saying, “No servant cannot serve two masters … You cannot serve both God and Money.”
The largest religion in America is the worship of money. We love money. We think that money will bring us happiness and security. Money controls our self-esteem. Money motivates our actions more than anything else.
Money—according to the Scriptures—is not a benign object. Rather it is a powerful force that seeks to entrap us. Money is the most addicting drug in the world.
We cannot, however, be disciples of Jesus Christ and worshippers of money. This does not mean that we cannot be affluent or successful. It does mean that as disciples of Jesus Christ we are faithful and obedient to him. Money comes second. Jesus is our Lord, and money in our tool.
We don’t give because God needs our money in some way.
We give because it is who we are as disciples of Jesus Christ. We give because it is how we bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ—Reach People and Change Lives.
We give because it is how we assert God lordship over our lives and affirm that money is only a tool (and not a god).