Money is a Tool: Luke 16:1-18

Focus Passage: Luke 16:1-18 (NCV)

    1 Jesus also said to his followers, “Once there was a rich man who had a manager to take care of his business. This manager was accused of cheating him. 2 So he called the manager in and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give me a report of what you have done with my money, because you can’t be my manager any longer.’ 3 The manager thought to himself, ‘What will I do since my master is taking my job away from me? I am not strong enough to dig ditches, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I’ll do so that when I lose my job people will welcome me into their homes.’

    5 “So the manager called in everyone who owed the master any money. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe?’ 6 He answered, ‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil.’ The manager said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and write four hundred gallons.’ 7 Then the manager asked another one, ‘How much do you owe?’ He answered, ‘One thousand bushels of wheat.’ Then the manager said to him, ‘Take your bill and write eight hundred bushels.’ 8 So, the master praised the dishonest manager for being clever. Yes, worldly people are more clever with their own kind than spiritual people are.

    9 “I tell you, make friends for yourselves using worldly riches so that when those riches are gone, you will be welcomed in those homes that continue forever. 10 Whoever can be trusted with a little can also be trusted with a lot, and whoever is dishonest with a little is dishonest with a lot. 11 If you cannot be trusted with worldly riches, then who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you cannot be trusted with things that belong to someone else, who will give you things of your own?

    13 “No servant can serve two masters. The servant will hate one master and love the other, or will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve both God and worldly riches.”

 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, were listening to all these things and made fun of Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You make yourselves look good in front of people, but God knows what is really in your hearts. What is important to people is hateful in God’s sight.

    16 “The law of Moses and the writings of the prophets were preached until John came. Since then the Good News about the kingdom of God is being told, and everyone tries to enter it by force. 17 It would be easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest part of a letter in the law to be changed.

    18 “If a man divorces his wife and marries another woman, he is guilty of adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman is also guilty of adultery.”

Read Luke 16:1-18 in context and/or in other translations on!

There are quite a few ideas that stood out to me as I studied this passage, and in this journal entry, I will focus on one that isn’t as directly stated as it is implied by the conditions in this teaching.

This passage begins with what is commonly called “The Parable of the Shrewd/Dishonest Manager” before Jesus then draws some lessons from this story about wealth and on what its “worth” is.

This brings us to our big idea for this journal entry: Money is a great tool, but it makes a horrible foundation.

When we think of money and/or wealth, we are very easily tempted to think of what we have – the money, stuff, investments, etc. – to be a foundation that we can base our lives on. In this scenario, the money creates a measure of “security”. However, this is making money a foundation, and as the manager in the parable found out, simply having money doesn’t equal being secure.

But if you have enough stashed away, won’t that keep you secure if you lose your job/income? Perhaps, but your stash of cash doesn’t secure your health. It also doesn’t secure you having true friendships/relationships either.

This is why money is a great tool. It can be used to help others, to bring opportunities and options into situations, and to provide for some of our needs as human beings.

When compared with money, God is a great foundation. He can secure our health, our finances, and our relationships. He can help us stay clear of the things that can hurt us, but this requires a shift in our thinking. Having God as our foundation does not work the same as having money as our foundation—God has a much longer time-frame in mind with what He wants for us.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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