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Money and God

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How does God feel about money? Well, the only way to know is to look in the Bible and find out. In Luke 16, there was a guy who did so many things wrong on so many different levels, but Jesus said he also did some things right. What were the right things? Whatever they were, we want to do them!

In this story, the manager had been mismanaging the owner's money. The Bible says, "He had wasted his owner's goods". Today, we might call that embezzling his employer's money.

The man's life proved three things: that he couldn't be trusted; that he served money more than God; and that his work ethic/character was greatly lacking. In spite of all that, Jesus praised the dishonest manager for his shrewdness; for his ability to think ahead; and for his ability to create a plan of survival.

Upon close scrutiny of the Luke 16 story, we can deduce the bad manager had invested in helping other people and in developing relationships. He had been too lenient on his boss's debtors and had let them pile up too much credit. Though that was a bad thing, it developed good relationships with the debtors. They were willing to make deals when the chips fell and their friend was in trouble.

What I noticed is that he made deals that benefited all parties involved. His deals didn't leave any of the parties feeling angry or used. He obviously knew how to talk to people who had differences in opinion. He didn't argue his point. He was a solution man.

Another thing I noticed is that after he was caught embezzling, he knew what he wanted to accomplish. He wanted the owner to be more lenient on him and he wanted the debtors to pay up without leaving a bad taste in their mouth for the manager. He wanted to remain friends with them all.

Why did Jesus tell this story? Maybe it was to let us know the money we have is not really ours. It really belongs to God and he is letting us manage it. Maybe it's a test to show our honesty. If we are wasteful with money, would we be wasteful with other things God gives us? Maybe he uses money to tests our responsibility. If we can't show responsibility in our purchases, will we be responsible in saving for the future?

One thing for sure, unmanaged finances are a symptom of an unmanaged life. The Bible says, "He that is faithful in that which is least (talking about money) is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10).

Jesus goes on to say, "If you have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"

How we respect and handle another person's things spills over into how much we are entrusted with. The dishonest manager had one thing in his favor: he knew how to negotiate a good deal that would not only benefit himself, but all parties.

We spend our money on is what we love. If you want to know what you really love, keep a journal of what you buy. Do you spend it on people? On doing good? Or, simply on yourself with no thought of what you may need in the future? Matthew 6 says, "Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also".

So what does God think about money? Very simply, he advises us not to waste it; not to love it and not to trust it. "For riches", Proverbs 23:5 says, "certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven". Our trust must be in God who is the source of all things.

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