Sermon Graphic iWallet Long-2If there is one thing I sure we wish followers of Christ had not lost it is the ability to disagree without demonizing our opponent. There is a story in Luke 16 that illustrates this point. It is about an administrator who was found to be squandering his boss’s possessions.

In a hail-Mary attempt to ensure himself some kind of a future, the soon-to-be former administrator seeks to ingratiate himself with his boss’s debtors by giving them a significantly reduced bill. This was a rare moment of clarity for that man – he was being fired, he was too old to do hard labor and he was too ashamed to beg. In other words, his plan was borne out of adversity. But good plans are often conceived that way.

The man reasoned that those people who benefited from his clever plan would be gracious to him when he was out of luck, as they remembered how good he had been to them. It was a guess but it turned out that it was a pretty good one. At least “the master” thought so.

The text says that “the master” praised the manager because he acted in a shrewd manner. Many Bible scholars think that “the master” here refers to the manager’s boss. I think it refers to Jesus because of how the sentences flow in verse 8. Jesus is the one doing the talking and you would have to break the sentence in the middle to change from one speaker (the boss) to Jesus who is definitely the one speaking after the conjunction “for.” Check it out for yourself: “And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8 KJV).

What we see here is Jesus conceding that even dishonest people are capable of some pretty clever ideas. In this case Jesus sees some rich spiritual applications to what this man just did. And Jesus says that we who are “children of the light” must take a page from that man’s book.

But what exactly is Jesus talking about? He is talking about the bottom line thing we are supposed to be doing this side of eternity – investing in the lives of people. He goes on to say that just like the dishonest manager used money to make friends who would help in the future, we too ought to use worldly resources to gain friends who will welcome us one day into their heavenly homes. They will tell us that we are part of the reason they are now in heaven. It is as simple as this formula: money+investment in people=eternal dividends.

Someday, no matter how rich you might be, your money will fail you. We all know that. The richest people on earth die the same way the pauper on the street dies. We can buy good doctors but we can’t buy good health forever. Jesus said it this way, “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9).

I don’t know about you but when it comes to reaching people for Christ, I am willing to concede that even people who may not be exactly model citizens sometimes have better ideas than we do and we must listen to them. Accumulating money for no purpose is not clever. Investing so people can get to heaven is. Let’s listen to an avowed rascal. Jesus did.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA