“Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own” (Luke 12:15 NLT).
In the parable, Jesus doesn’t praise the manager’s dishonesty, but he does praise his shrewdness. What is shrewdness? To be shrewd means you’re smart, strategic, and resourceful. You see a problem clearly, you know what needs to be done, and then you figure out how to do it. God wants you to learn how to be biblically shrewd with your money for the rest of your life.
From the story, we can learn four things that we shouldn’t do with our money.
- Don’t waste your money.
Luke 16:1 says, “A report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money” (NLT). Because everything you have belongs to God and is a gift from him—including your money—you have to be careful not to waste what belongs to your master.
- Don’t love your money.
You’ve got to decide if God is going to be number one in your life or if making a lot of money will be your number one goal in life. You cannot make both your top priority.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money” (Luke 16:13 NLT).
- Don’t trust your money.
I don’t care how much money you’ve got—you can always lose it. The manager learned this pretty quickly in Luke 16:3: “Now what? My boss has fired me” (NLT).
If you want to be secure, the center of your life has to be built around something that can never be taken from you. And there’s only one thing that you can never lose: God’s love for you.
- Don’t expect your money to satisfy.
If you think having more will make you happier, more secure, or more valuable, you are seriously misguided, because money will never satisfy: “Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!” (Ecclesiastes 5:10 NLT).
That’s why Jesus says in Luke 12:15, “Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own” (NLT).
Your Destiny: Become Like Jesus
As you look toward your Decade of Destiny, it’s important to remember that, from the beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. This is your destiny. God announced this intention at Creation: “Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image and likeness.'” (Genesis 1:26 NCV)
In all of creation, only human beings, are made “in God’s image.” This is a great privilege and gives us dignity. We don’t know all this phrase covers, but we do know some of the aspects it includes –
We are spiritual beings – our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies; we are intellectual – we can think, reason, and solve problems; we are relational – we can give and receive real love; and we have a moral consciousness – we can discern right from wrong, which makes us accountable to God.
But the image is incomplete and has been damaged and distorted by sin. So God sent Jesus on a mission to restore the full image that we have lost. What does the full “image and likeness” of God look like? It looks like Jesus Christ! The Bible says Jesus is “the exact likeness of God,” “the visible image of the invisible God,” and “the exact representation of his being.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT; Colossians 1:15 NLT; Hebrews 1:3 NIV)
You Were Created to Be Productive
The Bible says in Deuteronomy 8:18, “Remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (NIV).
Every economy, including America, has wealth makers and wealth takers. They have wealth producers and wealth users, wealth contributors and wealth consumers. The economy gets turned upside down when there are more consumers than there are contributors. That’s what’s happening right now in America. We have more consumers than we have contributors.
Yet God designed us to create wealth, to produce wealth; he designed us to be productive people. God wants you to be productive, and his plan for your life includes wealth creation — not wealth redistribution.
Let me explain the difference between capitalism, communism, and Christianity.
Capitalism says, “What’s mine is mine, and I’m going to keep it.” Communism says, “What’s yours is mine, and I have a right to take it.” That’s called redistribution of wealth.
But Christianity says, “What’s mine is really God’s, and I’m willing to share it.”
One of the reasons our economy has collapsed is because for many years, huge numbers of people — particularly on places like Wall Street — were making outrageous amounts of money without really creating anything. They didn’t create services. They didn’t create benefits. They didn’t create products. They didn’t create jobs. They simply made money on money.
That is not what God wants us to do. God wants us to provide benefits, services, and protection to others. He wants us to create opportunities to help people.
When somebody taxes you to help the poor, you don’t get any credit for it. But when you are voluntarily generous and help others, that builds your character. It helps you grow. Becoming more productive and generous helps you to become more like Christ.