Yesterday we talked about an interesting Aramaic word, “mammon.” The inspired writer Luke places it in the middle of his Greek text, 3 times in Luke 16:1-13! Mammon can be translated “money,” but it would then be missing the full weight of what Jesus is trying to say. Jesus is warning about materialism, that is, an attachment to the earthly stuff. That is why he uses the word “mammon” instead of the Greek word for “money.”
“Mammon” is more than stuff. It’s an attachment to our possessions.
In the eyes of some, only a select few struggle with materialism. They might say, “I can’t have a problem of loving stuff because I don’t have that much of it to love!” In the eyes of God, that number that struggles with materialism is bigger…because it’s not about how much stuff we have, but our view of it. What is the stuff for? Whom does it serve? Why do you have your stuff? What is its goal?
Is your stuff, your money, possessions, a goal unto themselves? Or do they serve you?
“I tell you, make friends for yourselves with unrighteous mammon, so that when it runs out, they will welcome you into the eternal dwellings.” (Luke16:9) Jesus puts before all of us a lofty goal, to have friends enjoy heaven with us.
Here are three examples of using stuff to fit that goal. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
Combining fun with evangelism.
Years ago, when talking about thanksgiving plans with a couple, they shared with me their plan of using a thanksgiving meal to invite friends to Christmas. “You’re already thinking about Christmas?” I thought. I couldn’t get past Thanksgiving, and here they were thinking about sharing the birth of the Savior with someone. However, I admired them because at least they had a goal. Thanksgiving was going to be fun for them, but it served a purpose. What fun things that you do can be used to eventually share the good news of what Jesus has done with someone?
Looking beyond retirement.
It’s good to plan for retirement, good to use the resources to take care of yourself and those you love, but consider what your stuff could accomplish after you’re gone. Trusts, wills, estate planning that remember the work of the LORD are ways we manage our stuff so that others can enjoy heaven with us. Imagine meeting “new friends” in heaven who say, “Your gift enabled a missionary to share the good news of Jesus with me.”
Making money serve you.
The dishonest manager wasted his master’s possessions. It went through his fingers without serving any purpose. Perhaps your finances do the same. Money goes in and money goes out and it doesn’t seem like it accomplishes anything. Developing a budget, accounting for each dollar spent, and sticking to it, reestablishes control, and makes your money serve you. Then, when you have control over your finances, then giving to the LORD and being charitable with those in need are viewed as opportunities to make your money fit your goal instead of times where you have to deprive yourself so that others may benefit.
“So if you have not been faithful with unrighteous mammon, who will entrust you with what is really valuable?” (Luke 16:11)
Jesus words are harsh until you think about what Jesus would consider as “really valuable.”
What is valuable to God? Perfection? A place in heaven? Oh wait, those are things God has freely given us! True riches are what you have because of Christ. God has given you all these treasures up front before you could do or prove anything to Him. They are yours through faith! You get them all! Be free from the burden on your heart of a wasteful past!
God has taken away your wastefulness and placed it on Jesus, and sees you as His dear child and the perfect manager of true riches and earthly mammon.