121. “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in what is much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money), who will commit to your trust true riches. And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money).” -Luke 16:10-13 Context: Luke 16:1-13
Many times in churches people get nervous when the preacher preaches on money or “stewardship.” But the reason preachers talk so much about the stewardship of what God has entrusted to us is that the topic comes up throughout the Bible. That includes many times the Lord Jesus spoke of it, as He does here in the Parable of the Unjust Steward. Money is a wonderful tool to use for God’s glory, but the pursuit of it can easily become an idol in our lives that competes with serving God. Additionally, the hoarding of it and overuse of it on selfish pursuits often show we view it as ours instead of something entrusted to us by God. God warned the Israelites about this. He told them not to “say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…(Deuteronomy 8:17-18).” The Bible makes clear that the child of God is to view 100% of the resources they have generated as ultimately belonging to God, and to view themselves as stewards, or managers of what God has entrusted to them. It makes all the difference for a Christian if they view their resources as ultimately belonging to themselves or God. For me it is settled that it all belongs to God, so I am looking to invest it in ways that build His kingdom, not my own. As I have gained more income, I have sought for my standard of giving to increase, not merely my standard of living. How about you? How are you doing at managing what the Lord has entrusted to you for His glory?
122. Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” -Luke 16:14-15
We must all decide whether we are going to be men pleasers or God pleasers. It is not that we seek out conflict with others. Some people seem to actually enjoy being rude to others and getting into conflicts with others. There’s nothing godly about that. But if we live out Christ’s teaching, it will bring conflict with others who reject what Jesus said. Sadly, that will even happen within our churches. Here Jesus says putting love of money and what the world system values ahead of love of God is an abomination in his sight! That’s the same word the Old Testament uses for how God feels about perverse sexual acts! We have to decide now whether we will compromise in our own lives to get along with others, or intentionally and consistently live by God’s design for our lives in all areas, regardless of the cost. Commit now to following Jesus no matter what!
123. “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink.’? Does he think thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you were commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” -Luke 17:7-10
I was watching college wrestling recently, and a young man perfectly executed a move to come back and win the match. Immediately after the match, a reporter asked him how he executed that brilliant move. I love the kids response, “That’s my job! The coaches have drilled me to do that in that situation hundreds of times. That’s my job!” You may recognize that lots of coaches and athletes are emphasizing that right now: “Do your job!” In football defense some players are given one job on specific plays. For instance, when the quarterback appears to be handing a ball off to go right, one player will stay on the left to tackle him if he keeps it or if it gets reversed in the other direction. When he does his job, he can stop the play from hurting his team. It’s okay to applaud him for making the tackle, but he was really just doing what he was coached to do. I have run into many church members over the years who don’t feel like they are being recognized enough and want to quit the area of service God has called them to. It is nice to get thanked every now and then, and as a Pastor I have tried to say lots of “thank you’s.” And Jesus also implanted in our minds a sense of looking forward to hearing Him say to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” But here He reminds us not to do our daily service for Him as if we are exceptional for obeying Him. Let’s just do our job like the Coach has trained us to do!
124. “Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” -Luke 17:32-33
When you start following Christ, don’t look back! A wise Christian once said, “if you are truly saved, you can no longer comfortable live the life you once did because you are no longer the person you once were.” You may fall into sin as a Christian, but if you are truly saved you will increasingly hate the sin and earnestly desire to be rid of it. Lot made it out of Sodom and Gomorrah because he was a righteous man. He brought his wife out, but she still loved Sodom’s ways in her heart, and looked back longingly at what she had ‘lost.’ God judged her rebellion along with the sinners back in the city, turning her into a pillar of salt. Yuck! Christian, do not love the sinful world system or the things of the sinful world system. You may think you own them, only to find they own you. I love the Christian song that says, “It’s hard to imagine the freedom you find, from the things that you leave behind.”
125. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die? Do you believe this?” -John 11:25-26
Note that Jesus says here that the one who will never die is the one who believes in Him and who lives in Him. To believe in Jesus is to live in Jesus, to become His follower. He didn’t come to just give you Hell insurance, He came to save you and have you enter into an eternal relationship with God. You may wonder how Jesus can speak of a person dying, yet living. There are actually two deaths people face. The first death is the physical death of their body. The second death is the spiritual death that cuts off the possibility of forever living with God. People who turn to Jesus for salvation are “born again” (John 3:3) and will not experience that second death. Revelation 20:14-15 says that all rebels against God who won’t turn to Jesus for salvation will face this second death. The second death will involve eternity apart from God’s comforting presence in the Lake of Fire. Think through this riddle: “He who is only born once will die twice; but he who is born twice will only die once.” You too must be born again by believing and living in Jesus.