Why is money referred to as filthy lucre? Because we all sin, all money is tainted by sin of some kind. Is filthy lucre usable for heavenly purposes?
Let’s learn that filthy lucre can be used for heavenly purposes.
We will discuss a shrewd manager and his wise use of filthy lucre in Luke 16:1-13. Take a moment now to read the verses in your own Bible.
People versus Profits (Luke 16:1-4)
An absentee landowner buys land cheaply from debt-burdened farmers. The farmers now work as hired hands. The manager has great latitude. Was he more generous towards the tenant farmers than the owner wanted? Did he run up huge expenses spending the boss’s money for himself? The manager’s next scheme has selfish motives. His other options were manual labor and begging.
Forgiving Debts (Luke 16:5-7)
The manager made arrangements to forgive his boss’s debtors. He must have had the authority. Was it dishonest? Did the owner cheat the people in the first place? The boss commends his manager for shrewdness. The manager now has grateful friends. Was the manager unjust? Were his motives also to benefit those cheated? The debt forgiveness was a great blessing.
Worldly Wise and Righteous Fools (Luke 16:8)
Is Jesus praising those who misuse money? Ought Christians use even the corrupt resources of this world for any possible good they can do? Can loving and trusting churches be foolish with money? Are all of this world’s teachings about money evil? Is Jesus saying to use money in manners similar to dishonest rascals, but for eternal and godly purposes?
Dirty Money (Luke 16:9)
Parables leave room for hearty conversation, deep thought and different opinions. Jesus challenges us to think about the wise use of money to benefit others. A church once returned an offering they saw as dirty money. But, all money is corrupted in some way. Jesus’ instructions were quite the opposite. He said to use unrighteous mammon to make eternal friends.
Faithful with Little (Luke 16:10-12)
Many people are untrustworthy, finding immoral but legal ways to misuse money. The money we have is on loan from God. Even a trillionaire on earth has little compared to owning the whole Universe. Can God trust us with money? God loaned us just a little temporarily. How faithful to God are we with what little He has given us?
Serving Two Masters (Luke 16:13)
Does money master us or do we master money? In ancient Israel the wealth was spread equally in a planned system to minimize poverty, using a seven year and fifty year redistribution. The jubilee system prevented some abuses of wealth. We can master money and bring small jubilees to the poor. Do we serve only God and yet use money shrewdly?
Wealth is dangerous and deceptive. Are we honest and fair? What is a righteous price? What is a righteous day’s work or pay? Wealth blinds us to the suffering of others and our own sin. We deceive ourselves that wealth is forever. Even ownership is fiction. We borrowed from God what others will possess one day. We can avoid the danger and deception of wealth by using it for eternal purposes.