9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Luke 16)

We continue with our discussion of the shrewd manager. These verses that follow the story point out valuable lessons about our material possessions. While shrewdness was the first lesson that we looked at in the previous post, these lessons also follow from the same parable and will help the reader understand the apparent contradictions in the story in better light.

As was mentioned in the last post, the moment of truth arrives for the manager when he recognizes his lack of permanency at his job. And knowing not what lay ahead, he sets out to secure his future. There is an important parallel to the human life. Man lives his life with a strange sense that all he has and experiences is forever; but the truth is that one day at death, he would need to put it all away and enter the eternal realm. Much like the manager who planned for his future, a wise man would plan for his eternity while here on earth’.

Eternalizing the worldly is what v9 talks about. How can you use your worldly wealth in such a way that you would be ‘welcomed into eternal dwellings’? That happens when you spend your money in obedience to God so that your resources bring about an eternal gain. This surely requires wisdom and shrewdness. Underlying that act of expenditure is an attitude entrenched within the human soul that nothing in this world is permanent. And so every act of yours needs to be in obedience to God and hence bring about an eternal gain. Accumulating and spending money is no exception. This is what ‘eternalizing the worldly’ means.

Jesus also touches on the issue of trustworthiness, no doubt an indictment of the dishonest manager. Every responsibility that we are entrusted with here on earth needs to be diligently and honestly carried out to the very best of our abilities. Every trust given, every responsibility entrusted, every task given, is in a way, a training for us to be able to handle eternal riches and responsibilities. The story of servants entrusted with the minas (Luke 19:11-27) teaches us the same. The one who multiplied the minas were entrusted with cities whereas the one who hid away the mina was deprived of what he had.

“I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be give, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away” (Luke 19:26)

Finally Jesus talks about the supremacy of the love for God that a Christian needs to have. A person who loves his material possessions cannot claim to love God in the same breath. They are mutually exclusive. A Christian might end up handling great possessions or have little but regardless of what he has, he will have no affection for it if his heart is fully devoted to God.

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