BEING WISER WITH MONEY
Date: October 3
"And [his] master praised the dishonest (unjust) manager for acting shrewdly and prudently; for the sons of this age are shrewder and more prudent and wiser in [relation to] their own generation [to their own age and kind] than are the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions), so that when it fails, they [those you have favored] may receive and welcome you into the everlasting habitations (dwellings)."
This is a very unusual parable that Jesus gives. In this chapter, He talks about a certain rich man, who had someone manage his estate. But that manager was squandering his master's possessions (verse 1). So when the master found out about this, he fired the manager (verse 2). The manager didn't know what to do, he was not able to dig and was too ashamed to beg (verse 3). So in verse 4 we read that he determines to go to each of his master's debtors and reduce their debts, in order that they would welcome and receive him once he loses his job (verses 6-7).
Later on it's very interesting and unusual to read what Jesus says about this parable in verse 8a. Jesus says, "And [his] master praised the dishonest (unjust) manager for acting shrewdly and prudently." He didn't praise him for what he had done because all he did was squander even more of his money. But the master praised him for acting shrewdly and prudently. Afterwards Jesus makes a comment about this in verse 8b, "for the sons of this age are shrewder and more prudent and wiser in [relation to] their own generation [to their own age and kind] than the sons of light."
The sons of this age use money to soften the hearts of people. The sons of this age use money to open doors for themselves. Now that can be perceived as being corrupt because sometimes people in the world use bribes to get ahead in life or they use money to blackmail others to give them what they want. But Jesus is saying here that the sons of this age, who use money shrewdly and prudently, are wiser with their money than the sons of light.
Based on that story, Jesus teaches us in verse 9, "And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions), so that when it fails, they [those you have favored] may receive and welcome you into the everlasting habitations (dwellings)." In other words, Jesus is telling us to use whatever is at our deposal to make friends. For example, if a boy gives gifts to a girl, little by little that girl will begin to develop a liking for the boy. It's the same way with friends. If one person is always doing nice things and giving nice gifts to another person, then slowly that other person will respond to those nice gestures. I've given gifts to many people, even people who have spoken negatively against me. But when I do so, all of a sudden they look at me differently because they see that I'm a giver.
Now it would be wrong to marry someone because they have given you gifts and it would be wrong to think that just because you have given gifts to someone that that person has to reciprocate. But Jesus is saying here that the people of this age are wiser and shrewder with money than the people of light because they use material things to make friends. So maybe instead of always thinking, "what can I get?" we can start asking ourselves, "what can I give?" Your gifts will open doors for you because your gifts are actually seeds that you will plant and those seeds will return a harvest back to you.
The producer of Sara's music CD "The Promise," Dave Hopkinson initially donated studio time for my daughter to record her CD, hoping that his gift would open the heart of my friend, who has a motorcycle business. Dave was hoping that this friend of mine would hear that he was producing Sara's CD for free and would give him a motorcycle for free because of it. But at the second session of recording, Dave corrected his heart and decided that he was going to do this for God. Shortly after that, God gave him several job opportunities for his studio amounting to about $40,000 worth of business, which is far more than the cost of the motorcycle he was hoping to get. You can never out give God. When you give gifts to people, their hearts become open to you but more importantly God's heart becomes open to you as well.
That's what Jesus teaches us here. Jesus is quoted in Acts 20:35 where he said: "It is more blessed (makes one happier and more to be envied) to give than to receive." He teaches us that it's much better and much wiser to be a giver than a receiver only. Those gifts that we give will open up people's hearts for us. One of the wonderful purposes of money is to give. So today, let's determine in our hearts to be givers!