Luke 16:1-10, 12-13
“Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’ “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’ “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’ “‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels. ’ “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.””
I have always found it interesting that Jesus tells a story about the deceptive practices of people of the world to illustrate a Kingdom of Heaven principle. Of course this is not to celebrate deception, but a clever way to irritate the religious-minded Pharisee that were listening, and draw attention and parallel between the way believers use and steward their resources versus unbelievers. Jesus clearly points out that unbelievers are more shrewd and intentional with what they have than often believers are. In fact I believe that what Jesus was alluding to, is that we believers have a very hap-hazard and passive perception to the way we steward the resources God has so graciously provided for us. This is not a wise nor a shrewd approach to the Kingdom of God, in fact it’s just plain lazy. If you are not actively taking inventory of what God has given you and then looking for opportunities to invest that resource back into His Kingdom you are missing the point of why God gave you what He gave you in the first place. Again there is never a reason to be deceitful, but if deceitful unbelievers can be motivated to find ways to invest their worldly resources, then honest believers should be twice as motivated to invest into the Kingdom of God. This lack of fervor to be actively investing into God's Kingdom is one of the primary reasons I believe we are doing a less than stellar job at discipling the nations as Jesus has commanded in Matthew 28.
Everyone has something financially, relationally and physically that God has given them that they are able to give back to God to grow His kingdom around us. Not everyone has the prudence or passion to be aware of what they have and be on the lookout for opportunities to invest it back into God’s kingdom. This sort of vision requires courage and determination.
What we often tell ourselves is that we don’t have enough to invest, so we must fearfully hold on to what we think we have in order to make it to the end. This is a great deception that keeps us trapped in spiritual poverty and does nothing to benefit our future in God. In fact Jesus clearly said it like this. When you invest your resources into the Kingdom, the King stores them up in eternal places for you. “They will welcome you to an eternal home”, is the exact phrase. When we look at our resources and believe that they are meant for eternity, then we access eternity with our resources. When we label our resources with a finite limit that we can control, then we limit our resources to our own ability. I don’t want to miss any great opportunity God has prepared for me, because I was too busy clutching fearfully onto the little I thought was in my control.
Again, the way Jesus explains it; whatever I believe I am in control of, or anything that I have fear of losing actually has control over me…
Being motivated by the fear of what I think I lack is like looking Jesus in the eyes and telling Him he’s not the God of abundance.
We are made for freedom in Jesus, and freedom looks like being able to take advantage of opportunities to be generous financially when the Spirit leads. To be able to be gracious with my time and relationships as Jesus is. To allow my physical possessions to come and go as the Father builds His kingdom in and through my life. As I step into these heavenly investment opportunities, I break the fear of lack in my life and give permission for God to prepare eternal rewards that will welcome me home along with His voice saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant”. That is something I can joyfully invest into with passion and zeal. I am praying that Jesus would give us vision to see opportunities of investment for the call of awakening in Appalachia that He has called us to. I am praying we would actively be aware of what He has given us and is calling us to give away. I am praying we would see our eternal future in Him and invest wholeheartedly into it. I am praying that we would refuse to be passive and indifferent toward building and investing into His call for our lives.