Monday, March 8, 2010

Luke 16 - Wealth

by Katrina

LINK: Luke 16

BACKGROUND
Jesus talks about wealth a lot in this chapter. First, there is the story of the shrewd manager. He is responsible for managing the money of a very wealthy man. When he is caught squandering the rich man's wealth, he is fired. Before he is thrown out on the street, he contacts all the debtors and reduces their bills, thus making friends with them all. His hope is that these new friends will take care of him once he is kicked out of his master's household.

Next, the Pharisees laugh at Jesus because they love money. Jesus tells them that, although they think they are righteous because they look righteous to everyone else, God judges their righteousness by their hearts. And they are detestable in God's sight. Pretty strong condemnation!

Then, we have the story of the rich man and the beggar named Lazarus (not to be confused with the Lazarus who Jesus raised from the dead). His money did not buy the rich man a place in paradise. He spent his life on himself and would spend eternity in continual punishment for it. While Lazarus had no money in this life, he had an eternal reward for his faith.

REFLECTION
Some thoughts from the Life Application Bible:
  • Let us use our resources wisely because they belong to God and not to us.
  • Money can be used for good or evil; let us use ours for good.
  • Money has a lot of power, so we must use it carefully and thoughtfully.
  • We must use our material goods in a way that will foster faith and obedience
  • Our integrity often meets its match in money matters. God calls us to be honest even in small details we could easily rationalize away.
  • Heaven's riches are far more valuable than earthly wealth.
  • Money has the power to take God's place in your life and become your master.
  • Prosperity may earn the praise of men, but it must never be a substitute for devotion and service to God.
APPLICATION
What's your attitude toward wealth, money, and possessions? Do you hoard them selfishly, or do you use them to help others? Here are a few questions to ask yourself along these lines:
  • Do I think or worry about money frequently?
  • Do I easily give up other opportunities or time with family in order to make more money?
  • Do I spend a lot of time caring for my possessions?
  • Is it hard for me to give money away?
  • Do I have credit card debt?
If these are true, you may be more a slave to your money than you realize. You can't serve both money and God. You'll have to choose one or the other.

PRAYER
Lord, we are constantly bombarded with the thinking that money is the goal of life. This world serves money, but we want to serve you. Help us not to be distracted by the wealth that is around us but to be more focused on you. Let us learn not to be concerned about money but to be concerned only about loving and serving you with our lives. You have given us all that we have; may we learn to manage it for your glory and your honor. Amen.
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