We are often so messed up over money because we don’t understand where it comes from. Ultimately, we are stewards over what God has given us. When God can trust us He will bless us.
Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money. If you love people, you’ll use money to reach more people. If you love money, you will use people to get more money.
Jesus spoke more about financial accountability than most other topics.
There is a very strange story in Luke 16. In this context, Jesus develops a story about a rich man who employs a manager who mishandled his financial books. He was fired, and in the process did something completely unethical. And yet he is Biblically commended for it.
The word “account” used in verse 2 is the same as the verbal “account” we will someday give to God.
God does not give me more so I can increase my standard of living. He gives me more so I can increase my standard of giving and I can help more people.
Giving is not about getting rich, but about enriching the lives of others with what God gave us.
The rich man had trusted his accountant, and his accountant had failed him as a steward, so he was fired. The accountant then begins to plot what he should do. He was too lazy to work and too proud to beg.
And so he hatches a plan that is highly unethical. He plans to endear himself to his former boss’s debtors that they may receive him into their homes.
The former accountant, who had just been fired, calls on these debtors, who don’t yet know he has lost his job. He writes off a portion of their debts so they will be endeared to him. He gains their favor that he doesn’t deserve with people he does not know with resources that are not his.
So the debtors are no longer endeared to the boss, but to the man who used to work for the boss.
But the story gets even stranger. The boss discovers his former accountant’s scheme and commends this unjust steward. And he commends him because he had acted wisely (or shrewdly).
But the Lord doesn’t commend evil, so why is the unjust steward portrayed this way?
It’s not that the Lord was amazed by the unethical practice, but the thought process that led to the unethical practice.
And then Jesus turns it around this way: lost people understand the value of money more than God’s people understand the value of money. So if we aren’t careful, the world will beat the church in its understanding of financial resources.
Jesus commands that we make friends of the “mammon” of unrighteousness. “Mammon” is simply materialism and wealth. In other words, He tells us to use money to make friends. On Christian terms, we use money to reach lost people. And whose money are we to use? We are to use God’s money to reach people.
(We cannot outgive God.)
In verse 9, Jesus explains that we use God’s money to reach people so that when we fail (die), the boss’s debtors (i.e., the souls we win) may receive us into “everlasting habitations.”
We are simply to use money without the unethical angle. Those we reach with God’s money will wait for us when we reach heaven.