Sunday, June 6, 2010

Money Matters With God

An Unjust Steward Who Became Worldly Wise

By Abraham Israel

Hear the Parable:

1  He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 
2  So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ 
3  “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 
4  I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’ 
5  “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 
6  And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 
7  Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 
8  So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. 
9  “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 
10  He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 
11  Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 
12  And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? 
13  “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”” (Luke 16:1-13).

What and Why of a Parable

Parable is a simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson. It is also an earthly story that reflects the truth of heavenly reality. “Parable” is a transliteration of the Greek ‘parabole’. It means “the placing of one thing beside another with a view to comparison”. It puts the known next to the unknown so that we may learn.

Jesus often taught using parables (Matt 13:1-3, 34-35). Approx. 1/3 of all Jesus’ recorded teachings are in parables. A parable is a heavenly story set in an earthly context. Everyone and everything is symbolic. I believe that the key to unlocking the heavenly truth of a parable is to correctly interpret the symbolism. Jesus always spoke to the public in parables and when He was alone with His disciples He always explained the parable to them (Mark 4:34). The disciples were taken aback with the mysteries of Jesus’ parables playing in their mind and the question which kept on coming in to their mind, ‘Why should Jesus speak to the people always in parables?’ One fine day they got bold enough to ask Jesus, “10 ...Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” 11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” (Matthew 13:10-12, NLT). This shows that Jesus gives understanding to grasp the heavenly truths behind the earthly parables only to those who are committed to follow and obey Him; he always gives spiritual understanding abundantly only to those who are willing to pay the price to follow Him without any precondition. Even in our days it is the same, so ask the Lord to first make you committed to obey His words and follow His teachings daily so that you will be able to grasp the hidden truths behind these parables. For those who follow Jesus as a disciple will have their spiritual eyes and ears opened by the supernatural power of Jesus and they will be healed of their spiritual blindness and deafness (Matt 13:14-16). As a result of it they will be able to understand the heavenly story set in an earthly context. Praise the Lord!

Jesus Says a Story

The rich man and his steward are natural people in a natural setting in this world. The rich man has given his money in to the hands of his steward in order that he may use it efficiently and multiply it. Trusting the integrity of the steward, the rich man had given much material goods and things in to his hands. But in breach of the rich man’s trust, the steward was wasting it lasciviously behind the scenes. But somehow the owner was told by some other person that this steward whom he was trusting was wasting his goods. Then the rich man called his steward and asked him to give an account of his stewardship so that he may be terminated from his present responsibility.

At this point of time only the steward’s eyes gets opened. He knew that because he had been unjustly wasting the goods of his owner, he will surely be thrown out of the position of the manager. This is the first time he was taking responsibility of his own life and began to think about his future. He knew that when he goes out of the present job that he cannot survive doing any heavy labor because physically he was not used to hard work. So this unjust steward decided to foreclose the debt incurred by those who were in debt to this rich man, so that they could receive him in to their houses and feed him after he was thrown out of his present job. So he called one by one and decided to strike out at least some of their debt before being thrown out of his manager post. Here the master commended this man who was indeed committing fraud and forgery with the crooked wisdom of the world, he was commending this unjust steward because he began to think for the first time with sanity about his immediate future.

Wait a Minute, Is Forgery Not Illegal?

The steward was absolutely unjust and I believe that the owner is commending the fellow for his proactive thinking which was beginning to work. His thinking was about his immediate future, so he dealt shrewdly. Any owner would take to the court such a person and would make him pay even to his last penny as a retribution. But this owner was a good hearted man so he overlooks the bad nature of the steward and appreciates his mind returning back to sanity. Jesus commends the unjust steward and the sons of the world not for their crooked way of gaining wealth but for the worldly understanding they had for their immediate earthly survival (Matt 6:31-32). The unjust steward and “the sons of the world” already knew that because of being unjust they do not have an eternal future. They also already knew that they are condemned before the perfect court of justice of God and that they are going to be terminated for their lawless behavior very soon (Rom 2:14-15; John 3:18-19; 2 Thess 2:12; Mark 16:16). So earthly wise “sons of the world” use their wicked mind like the unjust steward to secure at any cost at least their immediate future in this earth. But Apostle Paul says, "Do we have hope in Christ only for this life? Then people should pity us more than anyone else." (1Co 15:19, NIrV). In other words, Paul is saying to the believers that the very basis we live differently from unbelievers is for us to inherit a future that is full of great excitement and rewards in exchange for all our present effort and toil for Christ’s sake.

Here Jesus is comparing the worldly wisdom of an unjust steward who thought about his immediate future wisely but in an unjust way to the believers who are totally careless and thoughtless about their eternal future. In other words the unjust steward began to act on the present looking forward to his immediate future. He thought for the first time about his future survival and was beginning to act accordingly in the present. Jesus is driving home this point of spiritual good sense to the believers whom he described as the “sons of light”. The principles that Jesus is teaching is, don’t waste your money just as you like by pampering yourself with all comfort and indulging in all lust of the world which is passing away (1 John 2:17). These worldly enjoyments of using your money for your own selves in a selfish way will not stay with you for your eternal future. Once you leave this earth, you will become penniless because you cannot take anything out of this present world (Job 1:21; 1 Tim 6:7). So thoughtfully think at least seeing how the unbelievers are wise enough to secure and store things unjustly for their earthly immediate future through their power and money they have in their disposal (Luke 12:20-21). Use your money to impact the life of people through the gospel, so that the moment you die in this earth people who have been touched by the gospel and saved by your money which you spent, will receive you at the entrance of heaven’s gate with joy and anticipation of further knowing about you intimately in the eternal home of the saints which is the new heaven and the new earth (2 Cor 9:10-15; Phil 4:17; 1 Cor 13:12; Rev 21:1-3).

Jesus says that the simplest test of stewardship that God expects from a believer is the money that God gives to him. J. H. Jowett says beautifully, “The real measure of our wealth is how much we should be worth if we lost our money." This is why men of God are again and again tested by God with their faith and purified as pure gold in the area of finance (1 Peter 1:7; Job 1:9-12; 2:3). A person who is faithful as a good steward with his money will also be faithful with all the spiritual things that God supplies to him freely, which is of much higher eternal value than simple money that is temporal (2 Cor 4:18). A believer can really expect to receive more and more spiritual blessings from God only if he is faithful with the money that God has already given him to check whether he is a good steward. Many of us will readily give our self to God but are not ready to give our purse to Him, just like the rich young ruler who was ready to pursue God without being ready to give up his purse to God (Matt 19:16-22). William Allen says, “One verse in every six in the first three Gospels relates either directly or indirectly to money. Sixteen of our Lords forty-four parables deal with the use of misuse of money. A loving, joyful, liberal giving to the Lords work is an acid test of a spiritual heart, pleasing to God." This is why how we deal with the money we have in our hands, matters much to God than we usually think.

Stewardship and Money

I know that many so called Christian people taking this parable and misinterpreting it are being involved in forging governmental money and (OPM) other people’s money wrongly, thus as a result of it are gaining friendship of high profile people by doing such injustice. Shame on such people!! It shows that they have been completely deceived by their evil heart within them. Apostle Peter says that these people are untaught and unstable people who twist all the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). Beware of such things people of God because as predicted by God a big falling away from faith is already sweeping the whole earth (2 Thess 2:3, 9-10). The devil wants to deceive more and more people of God in these latter times of last days to their own destruction by wrong belief more than ever, because he knows that his time is very less in this earth (1 Tim 4:1 Rev 12:12). He is masquerading as an angel of light and will bring more destruction to the Church through wrong doctrines than any other way (2 Cor 11:3). He will act more and more in this deceptive way in these last days because people in our generation live by sight more than faith (2 Cor 11:14; 5:7; Rev 3:18). Jesus has clearly said, "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much." (Luk 16:10). So be faithful in the small things God has given to you to manage in your home and workplace. As a result of it God will take you in to place of “much” abundance and overflowing in your future life. God will ultimately be glorified through your life and testimony. Praise the Lord!

Jesus wants us to clearly understand that we are not the owners of the money we have, but we are only stewards of God. The word ‘steward’ means ‘one who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.’ As a human being born on earth, we just manage the property of God that has been given to us temporarily in order to take care of it in integrity (Ps 24:1; 115:16; Gen 2:15). Jesus challenges the believer's like us to recognize that all our money belongs to God and He wants us to dedicate our self in this life to extend the kingdom of God through the money God has given us. He wants us to think about our future reward and benefits that God will give us if we act as a good steward. He also says that God will give to us great spiritual blessings on earth itself to experience and enjoy, if only we will use the money we have to bring more people in to the kingdom of God than pampering and storing it for our own comforts. If we think and use the money that we have or earn as though it is our own, we can never really be able to serve God acceptably on earth and be wise enough to think about our immediate future in heaven. Once we habitually live with an earthly mindset we will lose to collect and store eternal treasures for our future comfort and gala in heaven (Col 3:1-2; Matt 6:19-21, 24).

Jesus says because of loving money more than God we will lose our God given time of service on earth and be penniless in the eternal future, or else love God and serve Him even if we become penniless now because of serving Him and thus secure our eternal riches in heaven for eternity. We cannot gain both at the same time is what Jesus emphasizes. If we love money and miss God’s great eternal future, we are so foolish than that unjust steward who at least thought about his immediate earthly future. Hear these wise words from William Bridge, "Seek not great things for yourselves in this world, for if your garments be too long, they will make you stumble; and one staff helps a man in his journey, when many in his hands at once hinders him." How true it is that we should only have a perfect garment that fits us for the present need and just one staff in this earthly pilgrimage to help us walk or lean on it when we are feeling weak and even sometimes face trouble and win the spiritual war using it (1 Chron 29:15; 1 Peter 2:11; Ps 84:5). Always be content in this journey called life (1 Tim 6:6-8), or else saints we are troubling ourselves with loads of worries and sadness that we were not supposed to carry by divine design (1 Tim 6:9-10). Look forward to that exciting days ahead saints, you life will never be the same again in this earth!!!!!


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