by Pastor Glenn Crouch
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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 16:9).
When you first encounter this parable, you may think that Jesus is promoting unethical business practices. However, this parable is akin to the wisdom literature of the Old Testament and is used to illustrate a particular point that Jesus is making.
Some have suggested that the shrewd manager removes the interest charged on each invoice – or reduces the invoice to a fair price – as Israel had been commanded to not charge each other interest and be fair in their business practices. Thus, the master would not be able to be too harsh with the manager as that would reveal too much about his own business practices. Whether this is the case or not, it is the shrewdness that Jesus wants us to ponder.
We can easily fall into the trap of worshipping (or at least paying too much attention to) money and all the ‘stuff’ it can buy. Jesus is challenging us on this. We cannot serve both God and our ‘stuff’. Jesus’ proposed solution is for us to be smart and find ways we can use our money and our stuff to help others. Not so that we earn our way into God’s kingdom, but because through him, we are already God’s children.
Are there ways in which you could better use your money? Have you been blessed with wonderful assets that could be used to help others and thus gain friends for the gospel? Often you can do even more by combining with others – so what ways can you, a group of Christians, wisely use your stuff?
Heavenly Father, thank you for the many blessings you have given me. Help me, through your Holy Spirit, to be wise and generous with it all. Keep reminding me that the things of this world will pass away, but all you have given me through your Son will remain forever. In his mighty name, I pray. Amen.
Glenn Crouch was born in Brisbane and was baptised in the Methodist Church. He married Karen in a Reformed Baptist Church, and they moved to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia 37 years ago, where Glenn worked as a lecturer in computing. After serving as a Baptist pastor, Glenn joined the Lutheran Church with Karen in 1995. Glenn served as a lay preacher, which led to him becoming a Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP), and he recently transitioned to General Ministry Pastor (GMP). Glenn still lives in Kalgoorlie-Boulder with Karen, where they have raised two boys.