BY DAN KIEHL, Senior Pastor, Oakwood Presbyterian Church
In Luke 16, Jesus tells a story that will really make you scratch your head. He tells about a man who gets a “pink slip” from his wealthy boss because he had mismanaged funds and resources. Realizing that he only has a brief time before he would be thrown out, penniless, onto the street, he comes up with a devilishly ingenious plan. He would call in all those who owed money to his boss and offer to settle their bills at as much as a 50% discount. This way, when he lost his job, all his master’s former debtors would owe him big favors, which he could cash in whenever needed. End of story.
What in the world is Jesus trying to teach us from this story? Jesus doesn’t hold this man up as an example to avoid; instead, much to our surprise, He tells us to be more like this cunning manager. Listen to our Lord’s application of His story: “…the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use your worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” Jesus isn’t telling us to be underhanded or deceptive. He is saying that you should be investing our Master’s resources, our time, money, and effort, “to gain friends for yourselves.” And He is referring to a particular kind of friend, one who can welcome you “into eternal dwellings.”
This is a corollary to an earlier principle that He taught: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19, 20). In the parable of the devious steward, Jesus illustrates how this principle applies to the relationships in our lives. We should be investing our earthly resources to make eternal relationships. For example, when you give money to missionaries, you are making it possible for more people to hear the Gospel and become, by faith, a part of your eternal family. When you make the sacrifices to teach a Sunday school class for children you are establishing and building eternal relationships. When you take the time to mentor someone who is new in his or her Christian faith, you bond with an eternal friend. The rewards for these kinds of investments multiply forever.
So, this begs the question…how are your eternal investments doing? Many Christians gripe about not getting much out of their church. Could it be that you aren’t getting much of a return because you aren’t investing much in the first place? “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Give more of your time, money, and effort to strengthening and growing your church family, and you will be amazed to see how the Lord will multiply your meager resources. Lead a Bible study, share the Gospel with a friend, disciple a new believer, visit the nursing home or prison… There are many ways to put more into your church family and experience the everlasting rewards.