Read Luke 16:1-15
Did you reach the conclusion that I initially reached? That this everyday story is a difficult one? Did you struggle the way that I did in uncovering the everlasting implications? Did you treat this parable the same way we have many others . . . trying to make most of the details match up with some kind of spiritual, everlasting counterpart? That’s where we went wrong.
Christ’s point here is one of contrasts. It is that godless people know how to use worldly wealth for their own benefit. Meanwhile, the Christ follower doesn’t. Imagine if we were to use honest wisdom in accomplishing the will of God! Imagine if we were to leverage our resources for the Kingdom of God. Imagine if we were to strategically plan in order to help people become followers of God.
Certainly, there is much more that can be said about verses 1-12, but I believe verse 13 merits focused attention. Having used money to illustrate His thoughts in the previous verses, Jesus inserts an important warning. Beware, you cannot serve God and money.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
To which one are you a servant? Of course, all of us know the preferred answer. God wants us to serve Him exclusively. We understand that. But we can slowly, almost imperceptibly, become a slave to money. It may go virtually unnoticed because it is the norm for our culture. It is normal to create financial responsibilities that are right up to or even beyond our ability to pay. As a result, much of the breathing room of life is removed. We find ourselves handcuffed to a second job, overtime, or payments. Those responsibilities can prevent us from making decisions that put us more at the disposal of our heavenly Father and that enable us to give priority to His purposes in this world.
God or money? Which is your master? To which are you a servant?