Jesus told His disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg — I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’
“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’
The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Luke 16:1-9
“The story of the shrewd manager in Luke 16 is one of several stewardship parables. It shows us that each of us should carefully invest our financial assets, gifts, and opportunities to have an impact on people for eternity, thereby making preparations for our own eternal future…When we stand before our Master and Maker, it will not matter how many people on Earth knew our names, how many called us great, or how many considered us fools. It will not matter whether schools and hospitals were named after us, whether our estates were large or small, whether our funerals drew ten thousand or no one. What will matter is one thing and one thing only — what our Master thinks of us…As God’s child and His money manager, what personal, spiritual, moral, and financial changes do you need to make to get ready to give Him a face-to-face account…?”
Randy Alcorn in Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide (Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2011) 25-31.
Few stewardship writers in my Faith and Finances bibliography speak as pointedly and profoundly as Randy Alcorn. It’s a privilege to expose this book to my students as well as to Meditations readers. In this excerpt, Randy offers comments on a series of parables, one of which is among my favorites and today’s Scripture, the parable of the shrewd manager.
God wants us to use all the resources we can muster to “gain friends” not on earth but to “gain friends” for eternity. All our efforts should urge people to be making preparations for our eternal future. Or as my friend, Michael Blue likes to say, don’t think about 30 years from now, think about the implications of your stewardship decisions 30 million years from now.
I safely arrived in Seoul. Pray for a good press conference today. Anjji Gabriel of CCTA (Philippines) and I, representing ECFA (USA), will be interviewed about the International Accountability Symposium on Saturday for CCFK (South Korea) sponsored by Kurios. Since that was a mouthful, let me explain how this relates to gaining friends for eternity and the new header photo above.
Financial corruption from dishonest managers has brought shame to the name of Christ in a few prominent churches in South Korea in recent years. As a result, the government has implemented new laws. CCFK aims to help Christ-centered churches and ministries do what is right to comply with these laws to prepare to give an account to the government and ultimately to God.
As that’s the work of CCTA in the Philippines and ECFA in the USA, Anjji and I are here to help raise awareness among pastors and ministry administrators regarding the importance of doing what is right before God and man in the faithful administration of God’s work (see 2 Corinthians 8:20-21). Why? To enhance trust and encourage greater giving!
When people know they can trust the ministries they support, they are more eager to use the worldly wealth they possess to gain friends for eternity. And, when the skilled workers administrating these churches and organizations do what’s right before God and man, they too are prepared to give an account for their stewardship to the government and to God.
Since Anjji has not spent much time in Seoul, I took him to Yanghwajin, the foreign missionary cemetery (pictured above) so he could learn the history of the church in Korea over the past century or so. Those who sacrificed their lives to bring the gospel to Korea are honored and remembered there. They undoubtedly gained countless friends for eternity!
So with Randy, I conclude by asking: As God’s child and His money manager, what personal, spiritual, moral, and financial changes do you need to make to get ready to give Him a face-to-face account? However the Spirit leads, respond with obedience and without delay. The time to be making preparations for your eternal future is never tomorrow but always now.