Summary: Either we master our money or it masters us
Steps to Mastering Our Money
October 23, 2008
Over the past few weeks, we have seen a dramatic shift in our financial and economic stability. The stock markets are down, the outlook is not promising and the bailout seems to have failed. People are angry with the financial mess we are in and people are afraid of how this will affect them. Whenever anger and fear are mixed, people start to panic. People are busy pointing fingers and playing the blame game. Democrats are blaming the Republicans, Republicans are blaming the banks and the banks are blaming the debtors. Playing the blame game gets us nowhere fast and solves nothing.
I do not understand the stock markets and I could not read the daily Wall Street Report. I could never attempt to balance the Federal Budget but I do understand that we cannot spend more than we make. I do not understand all of the factors that created our problems but I do understand the reality of sin and human nature.
Instead of looking at who is to blame, we should be looking at what is to blame. The problem lies with human nature. Listen to what John Wesley said about money: “The fault does not lie in the money, but in them that use it.”
What is to blame for the financial mess we are in? The proverb is true: The love of money is the root of all evil. There is more evil committed in this world through the pursuit and gain of money. Wars are fought over money. Murders have been committed over money. Lies and all forms of deception have been committed over money.
Open your Bibles with me to Luke 16:1-13
1 Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, `What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ 3 "The manager said to himself, `What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg-- 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ 5 "So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, `How much do you owe my master?’ 6 " `Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. "The manager told him, `Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’ 7 "Then he asked the second, `And how much do you owe?’ " `A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. "He told him, `Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ 8 "The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10 "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. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 13 "No servant can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money."
Financial problems were not uncommon, during the days of Jesus. One of the reasons the Bible is so powerful is because it still speaks to our day and age. Look at what happened with the manager.
The opening of this passage shows the owner hearing an account of his property manger wasting resources. This is more than just a case of unwise use of resources, it is the stealing of resources. The manager has taken from the master things that were not rightfully his. The cause of this situation is manager’s corruption. The owner makes the demand for an accounting of the household.
The owner has made it clear that if the account is not correct the manager will be released. This would have also carried with it a stigma and the reputation of a thief. The manager could not afford to lose his position and be declared unfit. The manager has been greedy with the owners resources and he develops a plan to cover up his stealing.
The manager takes advantage of the self indulgence of the barrowers. He uses those who have barrowed in excess from the owner. The manager collects the correct amount of items from those who have barrowed but then changes the account to cover his theft. The manager would have never been able to cover his corruption without the self indulgence of those in debt to the owner.