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Parable Of the Shrewd Manager is completed here, with a frank discussion of how it applies to us, today. 

Parable Of The Shrewd Manager-2

Continued from Parable Of The Shrewd Manager

2. Present: Today, many religious leaders pride themselves on the size of their buildings, their budgets, even the mortgage their congregation has to pay. I remember our staff at one church, meeting with the pastor of a church we all felt was "successful" in the area. We were impressed with the fact that his congregation had to contribute $ 35,000 per week to make the mortgage payment on their building. I'll never forget what happened next. This pastor sat straight up, puffed his chest out and said, "It's a faith walk." This guy was bragging about his own faith because his congregation was enslaved to a multimillion dollar mortgage. God forbid! This is what Jesus was talking about in vs 8, people of the light using worldly wealth to get worldly admiration, worldly goals, rather than spiritual. If we had that guy's mortgage payment at, we could reach 11,000 people for Jesus every week and still not need a building. Oh how we've all been sucked into desiring things that will corrode and die, rather than things that go on forever.

You're all pretty smart, so you've probably figured out Jesus wasn't just talking to the religious leaders. In fact, it says He was talking to His followers (us) when He told this story. When I cry over how we've been duped, I'm really talking about us, you and me. As focused as I am on reaching people for Jesus, my personal financial goals and aspirations could be a bit more spiritual. I could invest more of my desire in things eternal. We already have more house than we need, but I dream of one day having a custom house on a hill. I catch all the fish I can eat from the shore, but I can show you the $ 30,000 boat I want and the $ 40,000 car I want to tow it with. And there's nothing wrong with having those dreams and desires, even having those things. It only becomes wrong when we have them at the expense of what's of eternal importance. In our household budget, we have a certain amount for "wanna's". We get those after all the giving is done, bills are paid, things are maintained, savings are deposited…then we have a little each pay day going for wanna's. If we ever made enough money, that's where we'd list that house and boat. Just as I did for almost 40 years of my life, many of us have our wanna's as the top priority in our budget, then bills, maintenance, savings, and, finally, giving…if there's anything left.

3. Future: Some of you are angry right now, because you think I'm saying something about your money, but this goes far beyond money. Jesus wasn't talking just about money, He was using money as a metaphor. Money isn't the disease, it's just a symptom. This worldly attitude that permeates everything in our lives is the disease. How we treat people, how we judge others, ourselves, whether we're loving and forgiving. Look how an attitude about money affected the executives at Enron? They ended up lying and cheating, stealing people's retirement. One even killed himself. If we're not careful, we'll start to care more about our things and about what people think of us than what God thinks. The "oohs and aahs" we'll get when we show off the newest, latest, shiniest thing we just shrewdly acquired could become more important to us than the Lord saying, "well done, good and faithful servant." Jesus is challenging us to invest in the real future with our emotions, our training, our love, our time, our possessions, and yes, even our money. He wants us to know there's a future that goes on forever. He doesn't want us to trade our true permanent riches there, for temporary wood, rocks and skins here. Jesus knew that our actions can't help but follow our true beliefs. If you believed your house was on fire, you wouldn't be in front of your computer right now. If we truly believe in eternal life, we'll use this life to invest in that one.

Because what we do with what we've been given determines what we get.

God! Please open our eyes to your eternal kingdom. Teach us to invest in the life forever with you. Help us to realize that everything we think we own here is temporary so we'll begin to consider what's permanent and strive for that. Give us eternal eyes.

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