Text: Luke 16
Event(s): The parable of the unjust steward; The law, prophets and the kingdom; The rich man and Lazarus
Luke 16:1-13 “The parable of the unjust steward” This parable is about using divine wisdom when stewarding our wealth. Jesus was by no means approving of the way this unjust steward tried to beat the system. Obviously, he undercut his boss and as Jesus points out in verse 10-11 was unfaithful. But one of the things Jesus did point out was that this man somehow had the mind to think of how to use what was at his disposal now for his welfare in the future. Jesus was in essence saying, how much more, should we in the kingdom, think in this way – using what is in our hand now and think ahead with it – mainly into what is eternal. But instead, we often just think about what is needed in the here and now.
Luke 16:19-31 “the beggar died and was carried…to Abraham’s bosom” This story shows us that there is definitely an eternal connection with the way we manage what is in our hands while here on earth. Notice – this is not indicated anywhere as a parable. It’s a story. This event took place prior to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. So when it says “Abraham’s bosom” this is referring to the place that was set apart for people who believed in God, prior to Jesus’ resurrection. To help explain this further, I’ve included this excerpt from a commentary which I find very useful:
“The figure of Abraham’s bosom connotes a place of security, godly fellowship with other Old Testament believers, and honor. “Hades” is the general name for the place of departed spirits (cf. 10:15), and it is the equivalent of the Hebrew Sheol. However, in the New Testament, Hades always refers to the abode of the unsaved dead before their resurrection and condemnation at the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). Gehenna is a different place, the lake of fire, which is the final destiny of all unbelievers following the great white throne judgment (12:5).”
Today’s Takeaway: In my own life, I’ve learned that stewarding my finances well is so much more than budgeting or learning good savings/investment practices. Those things of course are good and necessary, and I do have all of that in place. But that’s knowledge and knowledge alone wasn’t going to help me. I needed a spiritual revelation that would help me breakthrough.
As I look back over the years and the progress we’ve made, perhaps one of the things that has made the biggest difference is learning how to wean my soul. (Psalm 131:2) The best way I can describe that is that the appetite for “things” or for “more” or even for excess items of convenience, had to be quieted to where it no longer dictated my actions or desires. And when I did that (of course, not in my own strength, but by the grace of God), I came to a place of peaceful contentment with what I had. (Proverbs 30:8-9) I began to value so much more what was already in my hand, that I rarely reached for more. I began to slowly realize over time that so much of what I had previously reached for was just, unnecessary in most cases. My mind, my heart, my flesh, my desires were calmed and quieted and peaceful. And when this happened, my heart opened up to give more and to think of others, which meant that I began investing for eternity. Breakthrough in our finances starts with a breakthrough in our thinking.
Additional (optional) reading: Many of us know the scripture, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But what we often fail to realize is that that scripture is positioned right in the middle of a dialogue the Apostle Paul was having with the church at Philippi about generosity. In fact, the verse right before that says, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” So for today, I’d recommend reading Philippians Chapter 4 (better yet, start at Chapter 3, if you can).