Can’t handle money, can’t handle souls
One little footnote to all of this is in Luke 16:10 and 11 where Jesus says, “If you don’t know how to handle money, why would God give you the true riches?” Remember that? What’s He talking about.
He’s saying why would God give you the true riches…what is that?…souls, people, they are the real riches. If you don’t know how to handle money, why would God give you people?
In other words, I really do believe that the extent of your spiritual influence is controlled by God to some degree on the basis of how you handle money. Obviously there are people who handle money scandalously and appear to have a great and wide influence. I don’t know how this verse flushes out in every individual life in the sovereign purposes of God, but it seems to me what God is saying is that He is not interested in entrusting living, eternal souls into your spiritual care if you haven’t demonstrated the ability to deal with money because it is such a barometer on spiritual character.
Welcomed to heaven by those you helped
After the parable in verse 9, Jesus makes an application. Just as the man secured future friends with the wise use of money, then you need to do the same. Verse 9, “I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”
All he is saying is that use your money so that someday when you go to heaven there will be a group of folks there welcoming you. What does that mean? Those folks who are there to welcome you will be the ones who have been reached with the gospel by your money. You gave to the church, to the work of the church, to the mission of the church, to the evangelism, to mission, to the spread of the gospel and as a result they were reached and apparently God will let them know who were reached by your gifts so they can be there to welcome you when you arrive. What an amazing thought. What a gracious gift on the part of God.
Money is owned by God
The Bible teaches that all that you have comes from God and He gave it to you and to me. It’s a trust. It’s a test. It’s a stewardship, but it’s from Him and He wants us to have it. The Bible teaches that all money is really God’s.
Let me show you.
He sovereignly gives it in differing amounts to people, and especially to His own people. Haggai 2:8, “The silver and the gold is Mine, God says.” Well if it’s His, if it’s all His then what I have of it comes from Him, through providence, through my skills, my talents, my work.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18, “You shall remember the Lord your God. It is He that gives you power to make wealth.” There’s that providential skill, opportunity, coincidence, all those features. It is God who owns it all.
It is God who gives you the ability to make wealth.
Proverbs 8:20-21, “I walk in the ways of righteousness” says God, “to endow those who love Me with wealth.” Wow! “To endow those who love Me with wealth, that I may fill their treasuries.” That is amazing. God wants you to enjoy richly all things, I Timothy 6, again. I Corinthians 4:7, says in a very generic sense, “In what do you have that you didn’t receive?” I don’t have anything that I didn’t receive.
Everything I have was given to me. I just showed up in the world one day, laid claim to nothing, everything from the time I was born, my parents picked me up, everything single thing has come to me from an outside source. I have created nothing. Same with all of us. And God gives this to us because it is His to start with. If He didn’t give it to us we wouldn’t have it, because it is all His. It has to come from its source and He’s its source.
Everything is God’s
Listen to Psalm 50, “Every beast of the forest is Mine,” verse 10. “The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry I wouldn’t tell you.” I like that.
I don’t need you to get me something. It’s Mine, “For the world is Mine, and all it contains.” Wow! Every animal, every bird, every rodent, every insect, every everything is Mine. If I need anything I’m not coming to you. You’re coming to Me. It’s all Mine; therefore, everything that is ours is a gift. It’s more than a gift it is a stewardship.
Job was wealthy and Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, all those patriarchs were wealthy. There were even people in the New Testament who were wealthy enough to have a house large enough to be a church. Israel was very rich, really rich, the nation Israel. Isaiah 2:7, “Their land is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end to their treasures.” God gave them the best land on the planet with the most wealth. Then He said to them, Deuteronomy 8:17, “Remember the Lord your God, for it is He that gives you the power to get wealth.” Don’t forget Me now that you have all this. Don’t forget the source, don’t forget the stewardship, don’t forget the responsibility.
Observe the ant
Proverbs 6:6, you probably remember this, 6-10, “Go to the ant O lazy man. Observe her ways and be wise. Having no chief officer or ruler prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down O lazy man? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and your poverty will come in like a vagabond, and your need like an armed man.” Look at an ant. Do you ever see an ant stand still? Have you ever seen a kicked back ant? They never stop moving. They never stop moving. It’s amazing. It is amazing. I don’t know where all that energy comes from. Isn’t it amazing?