I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. – Lk. 16:9 NIV
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In what had become the normal style of communication, Jesus Christ, in his attempt to explain very important points during his teachings usually deploy the use of parables. The parable which is usually a story to illustrate a moral lesson helps the hearer have a graphic picture of what is being thought, beyond the just hearing the teaching. The story may be real or imagined but it gives the hearer a better and faster understanding of what he intends to communicate. On this occasion, Jesus Christ had related the story of a manager whose master had decided to relieve of his duties for reasons of being wasteful. The master as a prelude to implementing his decision to terminate the employment of the manager asked him to give an account of his stewardship – Lk. 16:1-2.
The same manager, being aware of his guilt of what he is being accused of, and in acknowledgement of his twin weaknesses of inability to dig and non-willingness to face the humiliation of being a beggar decided to use his wealth, which in this case was his position, to buy friends and a future for himself. A future where he is aware that he will be unemployed but will still have to meet some needs – Lk. 16:4.
With this reality in mind, he approached some of his employer’s debtors and in a very shrewd manner, used his wealth (position) to grant trade discounts to them in a win-win situation for both his employer and the debtor customer – Lk. 16:5-7. Although Jesus Christ did not reveal whether the shrewd act was sufficient to help the manager keep his job, he informed all of how the manager earned commendations from his boss, something that he had not gotten heretofore – Lk. 16:8. Before this act of shrewdness, he had been accused of being wasteful and this was going to cost him his job but a wise act on his part had changed all that into commendation. Jesus Christ in concluding the parable commented that the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than the children of light and thus gave the children which includes today’s Christian, the advise which is the foundation scripture for today’s devotional.
In the advise which is very explicit, he told the children of light with today’s Christian included to use worldly wealth to gain friends because the wealth will be lost eventually and when that happens, they will, by that act of shrewdness, be able to gain entry into eternal dwellings. To be shrewd is to display sharp powers of judgement. Knowing what can be done with what one possesses to get one out of very unbearable situations or avoid unacceptable situations. However, Jesus Christ on this occasion was clear about the destination that the Christian must use wealth shrewdly to attain. It was for the Christian to be in a position to be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The essence of possessing wealth for anyone who is wise should be to ensure that he/she will receive a warm welcome into God’s kingdom which is the eternal dwelling in reference here. It is eternal because it is a permanent destination that every soul should aspire to get into. Jesus had mentioned this dwelling to Christians when in delivering his departing address to his disciples, he told them he was going to prepare a place where they and all others who accept him as Lord and Saviour will be with him eternally – Jn. 14:1-3. His advise in today’s scripture is a revelation that using wealth wisely could actually be a determinant in deciding the level of welcome a Christian can receive after departure from this realm. He was very emphatic about the loss of the wealth which is actually in no doubt. The wealth will leave once death, which is a sure event for every living being occurs and such has to face the next event which is an assessment of the activities of such on earth – Heb. 9:27. Whilst the manager was still in employment, he quickly used the little time available to rectify all his errors and instead of being relieved of his post without recognition, he got commendation from his master, despite the truth behind the initial accusations.
The Christian today cannot claim not to be wealthy as having the breathe of life is in itself some form of wealth. Such needs to use this minimum wealth wisely because a time will definitely come when all the oxygen available on earth will not be able to sustain such and death will ultimately follow. Can such a Christian be assured that the Almighty God will give a commendation when his/her activities are reviewed?
The devil who is the accuser of the brethren is continually presenting before the Throne of judgement, all the errors of the Christian in an undisputable manner – Rev. 12:9-11. There is no doubt that the evidences he is providing are true and factual. All you can rely on is mercy from the Lord but he who desires mercy must show mercy – Matt. 5:7. Do the needful now as the time is very short. The judge of the whole world is already calling people home and you do not know when your turn will be. Use the little time remaining meaningfully by using your wealth in a shrewd manner. That is the only way you can receive the commendation of the father on the last day. May God grant us all the wisdom to act shrewdly with our wealth in Jesus name. Amen.