Last Sunday we discussed “You and Your Money”. Using the parable of the dishonest manager from Luke 16:1-8, we were reminded of three (3) principles concerning money and possessions: 1) it is not your money, 2) you are a manager of God’s money, and 3) you are accountable for how you manage God’s money. The title of today’s sermon is “True Riches” and is based on Jesus’ teaching from Luke 16:9-13. In these verses Jesus is teaching His followers to use the money and possessions they have in this world to make an eternal impact in the lives of others. Specifically, Jesus wants us to prioritize our spending, money, and possessions in order to: 1) make friends, 2) demonstrate faith, and 3) display love.
Make Friends (v. 9)
Jesus said in verse 9, “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” On first reading, this verse may not make much sense. Who are the friends? What is unrighteous wealth? What will fail? Who will receive me into eternal dwellings when it fails? What are eternal dwellings?
Within the context of the previous parable (16:1-8), Jesus is teaching that we are to use our unrighteous wealth (e.g., money and possessions) to make friends (e.g., make disciples of Jesus) who will receive us into (e.g., be with us) into the eternal dwellings (e.g., new heavens and new earth).
When Jesus says “unrighteous wealth”, He is not saying that it is sinful to have wealth or that this only applies to wealth gotten in a dishonest manner. Rather, Jesus is calling all of our money and possessions in this world “unrighteous” because it only has value and benefit in this world. Remember that according to the book of Revelation, gold is pavement.
We, as Christians, must use everything (especially money and possessions) in order to build relationships that last for eternity. We must prioritize our spending and develop spending habits that reflect a genuine love for our community as we desire to see them come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Demonstrate Faith (vs. 10-12)
In verses 10-12, Jesus tells us that we demonstrate our level of faith in how we use our money and possessions. Jesus said:
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
In other words, if you are not faithful with your money and possessions in this world, you are revealing either a lack of faith in God or a weak faith in God. This passage warns us that if we are not faithful in this life with the things of this world, then we will not be faithful with the true riches promised to God’s children in heaven. It is Hebrews 11:6 that reminds us that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6).
We are “saved by grace through faith” (Eph 2:8) and a good indicator of our level of faith is how we use our money and possessions. If you are faithful with your money and possessions, then the promise in these verses is that you are demonstrating faith in God and that there is something far greater in store for you. How you use the money and possessions entrusted to you to manage demonstrates and reveals your level of faith in Jesus Christ.
We, as Christians, must show our faith in Jesus in the area of our finances, money, and possessions. We must show the world around us that we consider God more than anything else.
Display Love for God (v. 13)
Have you ever had more than one boss at one time? I had one job where I had four bosses on the same floor as me. It became quickly frustrating because all four could tell me what to do and they did not always agree on what I should do. In verse 13, Jesus tells us that how we use our money and possessions reveals who we love. Jesus says: “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
The Bible says “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Tim 6:10). Therefore, when it comes to God and money, you must choose who you serve and love because you cannot serve and love both. If you love God more than money, you will use money to serve God. If you love money more than God, you will either hate God or use God to make money. If money is your god, then you do not serve the true and living God. How do you know who you serve? Consider the following:
- Do you acknowledge that God owns everything or do you believe it all belongs to you?
- Are you generous and charitable with your money and possessions or are you stingy and tightfisted?
- Do you determine whether or not to tithe on the basis of how much money you have left over or do you give your tithe first and live on the rest? (or do you simply refuse to tithe or use it as a weapon to get your way?)
- Are you regularly worried about having enough money?
There are more questions that could be asked, but these are sufficient to reveal whether or not you are faithful with the money and possessions God has given to you and are inheriting the true riches that are promised to you one day soon.