8 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

Joshua 7:16–9:2
Luke 16:1-18
Psalm 82:1-8
Proverbs 13:2-3

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Luke 16:9 (CSB): “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of worldly wealth so that when it fails, they may welcome you into eternal dwellings.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

I can’t possibly count how many times I’ve heard a well-intentioned preacher say something like: “God isn’t interested in your happiness. He is interested in your holiness.”

I’ve even said it before. But, I don’t say it anymore because it’s not true.

God is interested in our holiness AND our happiness.

For instance, God wants us to be happy in Him:

Psalm 37:4 (CSB): “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

God wants us to be happy as we serve and worship Him:

Psalm 100:2 (CSB): “Serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

God wants pastors to be happy as they shepherd their congregations:

Hebrews 13:17 (CSB): “Obey your leaders and submit to them, since they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

On and on I could go with quoting Bible passages that reveal that God wants us to be holy AND happy. In fact, He desires that we enjoy happiness as we are pursuing holiness.

Essentially, chase after holiness and get happiness as an added bonus.

So, we aren’t surprised when we arrive at our Verse for Today and see that Jesus is instructing us on how we can leverage our current resources to increase our happiness in eternity.

It’s a fairly lengthy text so I will simply give some brief commentary, reveal the Scriptures, and give some closing comments.

1. The Accusation of Wrongdoing and Imminent Termination of Employment

Jesus started this parable by saying that a rich man found out that his manger, who oversaw his wealth, was “squandering his possessions.” So, he called for a meeting with the manager. The rich man wanted an explanation before he fired him.

Luke 16:1-2 (CSB): “Now he said to the disciples: ‘There was a rich man who received an accusation that his manager was squandering his possessions. So he called the manager in and asked, “What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you can no longer be my manager.”‘”

2. Planning Based Upon Self-Preservation

Apparently, the termination didn’t occur immediately. The manager left the meeting escaping termination for the moment.

So the manager tried to figure out how he could survive after he was terminated. He was too weak for manual labor and too proud to beg. So, he contrived a plan to leverage the master’s wealth for his future well-being.

Luke 16:3-4 (CSB): “Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do since my master is taking the management away from me? I’m not strong enough to dig; I’m ashamed to beg. I know what I’ll do so that when I’m removed from management, people will welcome me into their homes.'”

3. He Gained the Favor of Those Indebted to His Master

The godless manager, before he lost the authority to make such decisions, went to his master’s debtors and gained their favor. With the authority he still had, he substantially reduced their debts.

And, of course, the purpose was self-seeking. The manager wanted the debtors to remember that he, the manager, was the one who blessed them with the reduction in debt. It would be a favor that he would cash in on after his termination.

Luke 16:5-7 (CSB): “So he summoned each one of his master’s debtors.
‘How much do you owe my master?’ he asked the first one.
‘A hundred measures of olive oil,’ he said.
‘Take your invoice,’ he told him, ‘sit down quickly, and write fifty.’
Next he asked another, ‘How much do you owe?’
‘A hundred measures of wheat,’ he said.
‘Take your invoice,’ he told him, ‘and write eighty.'”

4. The Godless Act Was Ingenious

As Jesus told this story, He noted that the master shook his head in amazement at how the godly manager had managed to take what seemed to be a hopeless situation and work it out for his good. He was about to be terminated for incompetency and possibly ethical improprieties … but he still managed to find a way to virtually guarantee his future security and happiness.

This manager is not to be praised. Jesus makes it clear that he was an “unrighteous manager.” What he did was clearly wrong.

In this parable, Jesus wants us to learn a good principle from a bad example. After all, He noted that even the godless “children of this age” have something that the “children of light” could learn from.

What is it that we can learn from the godless “children of this age”? Leverage your master’s resources for your future happiness.

Luke 16:8 (CSB): “The master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the children of this age are more shrewd than the children of light in dealing with their own people.”

5. Use Worldly Wealthy to Increase Your Heavenly Happiness

From the godless manager, we learn the principle of leveraging the resources we currently have access to for our future advantage.

Everything you have, my friend, belongs to the the Lord. Essentially, you are managing His wealth that happens to be in your pocket and bank account.

So, from this parable, we learn that we should use our current resources for our future happiness.

How? By making friends for eternity!

Luke 16:9 (CSB): “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of worldly wealth so that when it fails, they may welcome you into eternal dwellings.”

How do we make friends for eternity with our money (that belongs to our Heavenly Master)?

Simply by blessing someone in need who is moved a little closer to the Savior as a result.

Or by using your money to get the Gospel to people.

Or by using your money to further Jesus’ Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).

What will the result be? You will have a welcoming party in Heaven, friend! “They (will) welcome you into eternal dwellings.” There will be people in Heaven who tell you: “Thank you so much for inviting me here!”

Talk about happiness! There will be people who are in Heaven because we leveraged our (Jesus’) resources to help them know how to get there!

Conclusion

Friend, how you spend your (Jesus’) money says a lot about what you value. Jesus is encouraging us in this parable to consider that we can spend some of our money on Gospel and ministry opportunities that will bring people into the Kingdom and increase our happiness in Heaven.

So, He has given us a parable and the powerful principle. What are you going to do with what you’ve just learned?

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash