A few months back, during a massive drop in the financial market, I began questioning whether I had been faithful with how I had invested my money. I also began pondering over how God would have me manage my finances. During this time, I happened to read the parable of the shrewd manager found in Luke chapter 16. From this passage, I found great encouragement and exhortation in the words of Jesus on how I ought to think about money and other earthly resources. Hopefully, these thoughts bless you also.
“So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.” - Luke 16:8 NKJV
I believe Jesus referred to unbelievers as being more clever than His followers because unbelievers recognize that the best life they can live is on earth and they act like it. They seek to maximize their reward here on earth, by pursuing after money, fame, power, and all other earthly pleasures. They care very little for life after death.
Similarly, if I claim to believe that my hope is not in this life but in the life to come, I ought to be as shrewd, caring little for the things of this world and having my gaze fixed on eternity and the things above (Colossians 3:1, 1 Corinthians 15:19). Sadly, such an attitude is often not found in many believers today.
“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
Also, Jesus did not say “if it fails” but “when it fails". This means that there is a 100% guarantee that all my earthly riches will fail eventually. All money, by its very nature, is ephemeral and destined to deplete over time. Whether it is through a recession, hyperinflation, natural disaster, expensive unforeseen expenses, or theft (Matthew 6:19). And even if none of these things happen, one day I would leave this world and all the money I have will no longer be of use to me.
Therefore, the wisest thing to do is to invest all of my earthly resources in a way that would produce value in eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). This can be in the form of saving for and taking care of my earthly needs and those of my family (1 Timothy 5:8), and helping those in need (Matthew 6:3-4).
Investing in eternity would also involve me investing my time, energy, and money into the things that edify others, thus building the body of Christ and advancing God’s kingdom on earth. If it is wise to spend 44 years (ages 22-65 approx.) saving up for 20 years of life after retirement (ages 65-85 approx.), indeed it is much wiser to spend our whole life saving up for eternity.
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” - Luke 16:10-12
Jesus refers to all the riches of this world as ‘a very little thing’, compared to the true riches that only God can give. Even the wealthiest man on earth, regardless of how large his wealth may seem, is insignificant compared to the riches that the Lord wants to give me.
And these true riches will be mine for all of eternity. Unlike the riches of this world which Jesus refers to as “another's” because it does not really belong to me but has only been assigned to me temporarily by the Lord for my short stay on earth.
Thus, through these verses, the Lord showed me that I should not evaluate my faithfulness in money matters by how successful my financial investments turn out. While I must seek to be wise in financial decisions, of even far greater importance is the motivation for my financial decisions. Is it done out of love of money, greed, miserliness towards God, or materialism? Or is it done with eternity in mind?
The greatest stock any man or woman can ever invest in is eternity. It has zero risk and guarantees an infinite upside forever! We will get to enjoy it for all of eternity without it ever running out! May we all seek to invest all we have into it. Amen!