The Cost of the Splurge

Today’s Reading: Luke 16

Then Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order because you are going to be fired.’” – Luke 16:1-2

Have you ever noticed how much time Jesus spends talking about money and the temptations of worldly riches verses building treasures in heaven? Here the lesson is about wasting money – money that does not even belong to us but to our Master. My natural tendency when I read this Scripture is to assume that God is not talking to me; after all, I don’t have that much money to waste. But this morning I know He is talking to me.

When the man realized that he would soon be out of a job and homeless, he decided it was time to make friends – fast! He went around to his customers and one by one reduced the debt they owed to the employer, creating a group of people who were grateful to him. Instead of being angry, the employer admired the shrewdness of the manager.

“And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. – Luke 16:8b-13

In our society, money = status. In Heaven, it will not. But how we use the resources God gives us here on earth will certainly impact our eternity. Jesus told this story:

“There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.

“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.

“The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’

“But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetimes you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’

“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’

“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’” – Luke 16:19-31

As Americans, we fill our calendars with plans of how we will spend our time earning money and then enjoying our down time spending that money. We fill our time with golf outings, shopping trips and luxurious vacations. We stand in line at Starbucks or spend hours in front of our television, but do not have time to volunteer at a local nonprofit or on the church work day. We plan our retirement but are we considering the eternity of others?

What if we stopped SPENDING our time and started INVESTING it instead? What if we stopped STORING up our earthly treasures and started GIVING to the needs around us? What if we stopped FILLING our closets and started EMPTYING our arms of everything temporary we are holding onto so tightly? What if we entered Heaven’s gates with no regrets of how we lived our lives on earth?

Lord, open my ears so that I may hear YOU today. Show me ways in which I am wasting my money, my time, my resources, my life. May I live each moment directed by YOU, filling my time and using my resources for Heavenly gain and not earthly status or pleasures. Amen.