Thursday, January 27, 2011

Use money to make friends. (aka Being Generous)

With most Christians that I've used this line with, they are very leery, even offended by that statement.  I admit, I phrase it this way to make them think.  To shock them, because it just sounds wrong. Kind of like buying friends and everyone “knows” that's wrong, don't we, yet Jesus said it. Not only does he say to use money to make friends, but if you do there are eternal benefits.  

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

When you think about it, it kind of sounds like what Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler in Luke 18. In that passage Jesus said,

You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22

Use wealth to gain friends → eternal dwellings.
Give everything away → treasure in heaven.

I'm beginning to think that Jesus wants his followers to be generous! It's also a little interesting in how Zacchaeus responded to Jesus. He didn't give it all away, but he gave away more than half.

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” Luke 19:8-9

I don't propose to suggest that Zacchaeus' giving away so much of his wealth earned him salvation, but I do suggest that his salvation prompted him to give away his money. Meeting Jesus made him generous.

Go forth and be generous.  Help your fellow man.