Tuesday, January 16

Wasting his possessions

Scripture: Genesis 31-32, Luke 16

Luke 16:1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions.

Luke 16:9–12 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. 

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

Observation

“Wasting his possessions.” In this story Jesus told, a manager was accused of wasting the owner’s possessions. Lesson one: we are managers, not owners. All that we have has been entrusted to us by God, and we need to remember that it is His, not ours, and we are only managing it for Him as He directs. Do what He says.

In the story, the bad manager cuts deals with the owner’s creditors. He’s concerned about losing his job, so he’s making friends who might help him later. The owner commends him, not for his poor management, but for being shrewd and thinking ahead. Then comes the lesson of the parable: make friends for yourselves by how you use your money—specifically, use it so people are helped and God is pleased. Will there be stories in heaven about how you used your money and stuff to benefit others?

Lesson three: be faithful with what God has given you. Even if it’s not much, for he who is faithful in little is faithful in much. If you can’t handle money, who will give you true riches to manage? If you’re not faithful with another’s, who will give you your own. All of this is a test for eternity.

Application

Here’s a tension I live with. 

I want to be generous and be a good manager of God’s money—use it as He directs. I certainly don’t want to be like the rich man in the second story in Luke 16 and spend it all on myself and ignore the needs of the poor at my gate. 

On the other hand, I do enjoy a nice lifestyle, and I believe that God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17) I know as a father that I love to give to my kids and grands and see them enjoy life. I expect no less from my Heavenly Father. 

There’s the tension. Take the first to an extreme and I give it all away to the poor and spend little or nothing on myself. Take the second to an extreme and I’m a selfish pig who spends it all on myself. I believe that if I love God and love people, He will direct me how to use what I have both for the good of others and my own good. 

Listen to Jesus. Do what He says.

 

Prayer: Lord, as always, help me listen and obey. Thank You for all You’ve given me. Help me manage it as You wish. I don’t want to waste Your possessions.