Summary: God has placed his resources in our hands. We will have to give account for how we managed those resources, and we will have to bear the consequences of poor management.
February 16, 2003 Luke 16:1-3
“Under new management”
It was Valentine’s Day, and everyone knows that there is no better day to propose than that one. So a young man decided that he was going to take the plunge and ask his sweetheart to marry him. He took the ring out of his pocket, knelt down on one knee and proposed to her using these words: “Sweetheart, I love you so much, I want you to marry me. I don’t have a car like Johnny green, and I don’t have a yacht like him. I don’t have a house his size. I don’t have the money of Johnny green, but I love you with all my heart. Will you marry me?” She looked into his eyes and said, “I love you too, sweetheart, but could you tell me a little more about Johnny Green?”
A wealthy older gentleman had better luck than that young man. He just recently married a lovely young lady, but he was beginning to wonder whether she might have married him for his money. So he asked her, "Tell me the truth: if I lost all my money, would you still love me?" She said reassuringly, "Oh honey, don’t be silly. Of course I would still love you. And I’d miss you terribly."
As evidenced by these two situations, people have gotten very confused and have allowed money to take the place in their lives that other people are supposed to have. They have begun to love money and use people rather than loving people and using money. The Bible records that “…the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” (1 Tim. 6:10) When not kept in proper perspective, it can cause otherwise honest men to behave in unthinkable ways.
An elderly man was desperately ill. Knowing the time for his departure was near, he called for his closest friends to come see him one last time. Attending him were his doctor, his pastor and his business manager.
The old man said, “I know you can’t take it with you, but who knows for sure? What if the experts are mistaken? I want to account for all possibilities. So I’m giving you each an envelope containing $100,000. When I die, I want you each to slip the envelope in my jacket pocket at the funeral service. Then, if I do need money in the life to come, I’ll be ready. I’m giving the envelopes to you because you are my most trusted friends.”
Shortly thereafter, the man did die. Each of his three friends was seen slipping something into the deceased’s coat pocket as he walked up to the casket to pay his final respects.
Following the service, while these friends were visiting with each other, the doctor, with a sheepish look on his face, said, “Guys, I have a confession to make. You know with the cost of medicine today, I don’t make that much money. The hospital is desperate for funds. We can’t even replace the CAT scan machine that’s broken down. So, I took $20,000 for the new CAT scan and put the rest in the coffin.”
The minister cleared his throat and looked down at his shoes. He said, “I, too, have a confession to make. As you know, our church is seriously overburdened by the needs of the homeless. I couldn’t just see burying that money. So, in hopes of helping the homeless, I took $50,000 out of the envelope and put the rest in his pocket.”
Looking sternly at the doctor and the minister, the businessman exclaimed, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I am astonished and deeply disappointed that you would treat a solemn trust so casually. He was our friend. I want you to know that I placed in his casket my personal check for the full $100,000.” (From Sins We Love, by Randy Rowland, p. 125-126)
Jesus spoke a great deal about money when He was on earth. He knew the potential that money has both for good and for evil in our lives. He used parables many of those times in order to teach spiritual truths about finances in terms that the people would understand. We come to one of those parables today. It is an unusual parable because Jesus used an ungodly person to teach a lesson to His disciples and all those who were listening. We will be examining this parable over the next two weeks. I have said for a long time that I can learn something from anyone whether that person is good or bad. I can learn to avoid the mistakes they made, and I can learn to follow the good example that they set. Today, we’re going to look at verses 1-2 of Luke 16 today to see what foolish mistakes a financial manager made in order that we might avoid making those same mistakes. Next week, we will look at the remainder of the parable to discover some wise financial principles that this manager exercised.