9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to make friends for yourselves so that when it’s gone, you will be welcomed into the eternal homes.
10 “Whoever is faithful with little is also faithful with much, and the one who is dishonest with little is also dishonest with much. 11 If you haven’t been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 If you haven’t been faithful with someone else’s property, who will give you your own? 13 No household servant can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
This is one of those scriptures that even biblical scholars can’t agree on exactly how to interpret what Jesus is telling us. But grappling with the ‘tough’ passages will always reward us with new insights and a different perspective. This passage comes after Jesus told the story of the dishonest steward, (worth reading- in Luke 16:1-8) who was commend-ed for his shrewdness, by the same manager who had fired him for squandering his master’s wealth. Then, in verse nine, it seems that Jesus is saying we’re supposed to use our money to gain friends and influence for a time when we no longer have money. What’s going on here?
Jesus spoke often about money and power and how it can corrupt us and how it creates systems of inequality and injustice between those who have wealth and those who are poor. How we view and use money speaks to the heart of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus is asking us if we have been faithful to God in the use of our resources. Having money may give us choices, but the pursuit of money, by any means and at the exploitation and expense of the well being of others, will corrupt our hearts and steal our souls. Do we worship God, or do we worship the lifestyle that
comes with wealth? We can’t serve both, so Jesus is asking us, “which master will you serve?” Jesus contrasts the eternal reward of using our resources for the benefit of the Kin-dom against the futility of a life of riches that doesn’t last and that we can’t take with us.
Jesus makes the point that, as followers of Jesus, it’s not about the money, it’s what we do with the money as stewards of God’s blessings. Are we blessing others as we have been blessed by God? A friend today told me that her church is
located in one of the highest poverty levels in the county. Her church members have only coins to give for offering and half bottles of their own shampoo to share with the homeless for their mission project. By sharing their few resources they create a community and network of friends that help each other through tough times. They understand what it is to be be income and food insecure and yet they give to bless others, even from the little that they have to give.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
We’re all stewards of the wealth given to us by God. But what kind of stewards are we? Are we squandering God’s wealth, or using it for the Kin’dom of God? Are we faithful in using the wealth given to us, using it to serve God by helping others in need? Look for an opportunity to share your resources with your church to bless others.
Prayer: Holy and Loving God, the needs of the world are never ending, but your love and grace are infinite. Guide us to faithfully use our resources to bless others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.