“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 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 16:8-9
Is God encouraging us to be dishonest? Hardly, that wouldn’t fit in with God’s character or Jesus’ teaching. Jesus is telling us that the people of this world are focused on getting ahead, making money, protecting themselves from financial ruin and in this regard they are often quite clever or shrewd. We see this in the story Jesus told. These people invest their time and money in what they perceive as important and in what will give them the most advantage. They have become successful as they understood it.
Yet, they were short-sighted. Jesus encourages us to look at the big picture. One day all our wealth and earthly success will be gone and what will we have to show for it? We cannot take our wealth with us when we die. However, if we use our material wealth to invest in God’s kingdom, giving to ministries that challenge people to become Christians, giving our time to ministries that encourage people in their walk with God, we will find that we will reap eternal benefits. By investing in growing God’s kingdom now, we will play a part in seeing people come to know Jesus. In eternity we will be welcomed by these very people who will see us as “friends”.
When we focus on the big picture and remember how fleeting our lives are, we will see the importance of investing in eternal pursuits, not earthly ones.