By Clay Hallmark
Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Lexington
What we see in these verses is a steward or a manager who was willing to “think outside the box.” Jesus did not commend this manager for stealing from his boss or for encouraging the dishonesty of others. Rather, Jesus commends him for his wise use of the opportunity he was given. Jesus’ point is that the people of God need to make better use of their opportunities to grow, expand and bring value to the kingdom of God. We see how Jesus brings this into clear focus as we focus on these verses found in Luke 16:11-13.
First, we see the priority of being a steward of the Lord! In verse 11 we see something that most people overlook or do not think about as it relates to their personal finances. I want you to see that God pays attention to how we use the money that is placed within our hands.
If you are living with a mountain of debt, that is not God’s will for your life. While we may desire to be financially free, we do not necessarily have the patience to wait until we can pay cash for something we want. Many of us live in debt because we give in to our flesh of wanting something right now!
In this world, there is a level of accountability that comes with being a Christian and how we use “unrighteous money (wealth)” is one of them. Many people use the majority of their funds to feed their selfish desires which leaves them little to give to or invest in the work of God. This is a form of not being faithful with “unrighteous money” and being deceived by riches. How we use our finances is a test God uses to assess whether or not we are ready for the higher levels of blessings, prosperity, responsibility and authority. Sadly, many Christians are failing this test.
The word “faithful” in this verse comes from the Greek word “pistoi” which paints the picture of someone who is known to be faithful, responsible, conscientious and trustworthy in contrast to someone who is rash, irresponsible and untrustworthy. If someone is not trustworthy with “unrighteous money,” how can they be trusted with true riches? This is the statement that Jesus is making.
The word “unrighteous” in this verse does not mean that it is sinful, but unspiritual. It comes from the Greek word “adikia” which means unspiritual, common, worldly or something which belongs to the realm of human beings. The term simply means worldly money. It refers to money and all of its buying power in the earthly sphere. When Jesus refers to true riches, He is talking about money used in a genuine, authentic way that honors God.
If you want to know what spiritual power you are ready for with God, just examine how you are handling your finances. God is actually watching us to see how we are using money so He can determine our faithfulness.
Second, we see the priority of being a servant of the Lord! Verse 13 says there are two masters. Who are the two masters? God and wealth! Not God and Satan, but God and wealth. Satan does not care who or what we worship as long as we are not worshipping God through His Son Jesus Christ. That is his one and only objective.
So, if someone chooses to worship money over God, he wins. Any material thing that we gather unto ourselves on this earth will be utilized only on this earth. We cannot take it with us! However, that is not true of spiritual things. Jesus said that a servant cannot serve both God and money.
Second to God alone there is no other force on this side of eternity that carries the power that’s in money. Unlike what is often taught about how money will change a person, I believe that money does not change a person, but it allows a person to be who they already are. Money will either enhance the good within us or it will enhance the bad. It’s all based on how grounded we are in the Word of God.
God expects us to be good stewards who think outside the box to further the work of His Kingdom.