What Is Being Praised?
Lord, Your Word is a storehouse of treasure. Help me to store up true wealth for Your Kingdom.
Read Luke 16:1-18
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The best way to check our heart’s attitude regarding material possessions is to allow all the principles of God’s Word to penetrate our innermost being” (Randy Alcorn).
This parable comes within the context of Jesus’ teaching about relationship with God and proper use of wealth. Kenneth Bailey’s interpretation (Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes) fits well into Luke’s context and contemporary cultural practices.
The wealthy landowner is painted as a merciful man who removed his dishonest estate manager from employment, but did not send him to jail. Knowing he would not find further employment, the manager devised a plan to ingratiate himself to other wealthy men, so that he would be provided for in the future. These business associates had significant debts to his master which were not due for payment until after harvest. The manager hastily called them in and reduced their debt significantly. Then the debtors rewrote their bills and were grateful to the landowner for his supposed generosity. Shrewdly, the manager counted on the master not withdrawing these large discounts! The master’s debtors interpreted their good fortune as a substantial act of mercy and kindness. His gracious praise of the manager hits us as totally unexpected. What was he praising? Dishonesty? Wasting his master’s possessions? Or that he wisely used wealth and the opportunities of daily life to ensure his future security?
Wealth has its dangers, but Jesus calls his followers to use it wisely for eternal benefit. Integrity in the use of earthly resources is an indicator of integrity in our relationship with God and others. Money is not our possession. It is a trust from God to be used faithfully for him and to bring blessing to others. Wise use of wealth for the opportunities for God’s Kingdom is a mark of authentic discipleship.
“Nothing that is God’s is obtainable by money” (Tertullian, c.155–c. 220). Do you agree? What difference might this understanding make to your life?
Lord, may I view my possessions as a trust, not as owned, and seek to use them for Your glory.