Some things that were valuable in 2019 have no value in 2020. For example, the plane tickets I purchased in 2019 had no value by the time I was supposed to use them in 2020.
Jesus says the same thing about the value of earthly wealth in the age to come. One day, a $100 bill will not be worth the paper it’s printed on.
So what should we do with our money right now if soon it will be of no use?
Jesus answers that question in one of his strangest parables in Luke chapter 16, the parable of the shrewd manager. In this parable, Jesus describes a dishonest manager who is about to be fired. Before he gets canned, he starts to cut dishonest deals so that he will have a place to go when his job is over.
Jesus says that Christians can learn something from people like this dishonest manager. Obviously, we should not be dishonest, but we should learn from their ambition and shrewdness. Jesus says, “For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light” (Luke 16:8).
Then Jesus commands us, “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 16:9). At first, this seems like a strange thing to say. Is Jesus really telling us to use our money to buy friends?
Well, not exactly. But Jesus does want us to use money as a temporary tool to build friendships that could last into eternity.
So how can you put Jesus’ words into practice right now?
- Consider buying your coworker lunch as an opportunity to invite Jesus to eat with you.
- Drop off a gift for your neighbor’s new house in order to share the gift of God.
- Buy some school supplies for your child’s teacher so that you might share the generosity of Jesus.
This world and everything in it will one day pass away. And if we cling too hard to what’s perishing, we will perish with it. But if we use these temporary gifts to further the kingdom of God, then everything, even money, gains an eternal purpose.