Snow in the Spring is a surprise. But here was a bigger and better surprise from this week.
I came across this statement from Jesus:
I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Luke 16:9 NIV
The statement caught me by surprise. The cynic in me first thought of the way people spend money to “buy” social media followers/friends. Then the slightly less cynical side of me thought of the way some have used money to buy votes, or buy influence. Then the even slightly less cynical side of me thought of those who use their wealth to impress others in order to gain approval, status, or self-worth.
I was surprised because I know that none of these ideas fit with the person and character of Jesus. So what WAS he talking about?
I believe he’s talking about the same kind of thing we talked about last Sunday: Using our resources to make a difference in someone else’s life, and in their eternity.
Here’s an example. If I say I care about you, but never demonstrate that beyond words, what would you think? Maybe you’d believe me, but probably not. On the other hand, if I say I care about you and pay your repair bill then next time your car is in the shop, what would you think? See the difference? If I say I love my neighbor but don’t bother to find out his name or even how I can pray for him, what would he think?
What’s more, this statement by Jesus comes at the end of a parable he told about someone who was about to lose their job. So in order to gain friends, this guy became wildly generous with his Master’s money! Jesus was saying the same thing he’d said in various other ways: We’re just managers of God’s resources, and how we handle those resources has the potential to impact what other people think of the Master.
So if you have an opportunity to be generous with God’s resources, you’re not only imitating our generous God, you’re demonstrating his character to those around you. You’re making it easier for them to hear the message that their Heavenly Father really does know, and care, and provide. And if I understand Jesus’ teaching correctly, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised one day when those opportunities are all gone.