Stump the Rector – Making friends with unrighteous mammon?


Joy writes
Ok, another one for “stump the rector”, while I was doing my readings for today one scripture has me completely stumped. Luke 16:9. I understand everything Jesus said before and after that part but I’m so confused by this part and I looked at several different translations trying to get more understanding and basically they all read in the same way. What exactly is Jesus saying here? Thanks! ~Puzzled and Confused in Nashville.

The New Living Translation is most helpful with this verse. It says “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.”

I believe the “they” who welcome you are the ones that you helped with your worldly resources. Jesus is telling us here that we help ourselves in the future by helping others now. We use the fake riches of this world to store up true riches in the life to come. A cynic would say that is self-serving but Jesus is teaching us here that it is being a shrewd steward.

He wants us to understand that this life is a proving ground for the life to come. Look at the next verses, 11 and 12. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”

So what people think of as riches in this world is really monopoly money and how we use this monopoly money now will determine if we are entrusted with true riches in the life to come. Also we need to understand that Jesus is not talking here about working your way into heaven by being generous. He is speaking here of how our rewards in heaven are determined. Are we going to hear “Well done good and faithful servant” or “Take what little he has and give it to the one who was faithful”?

5 thoughts on “Stump the Rector – Making friends with unrighteous mammon?

  1. “A cynic would say that is self-serving” – the cynic doesn’t understand faith is Christ IS self-serving – the most important self-serving we could ever do in life! “It is more blessed to give than receive . . .” “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you . . .” “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’S commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” The cynic is right! He ought to try it!

  2. Fr. Ray: While agree with your eternal applications here, I also think “eternal homes” may also include a meaning not unlike our phrase “lifetime friendships.” At any rate, that’s how I read this text insofar as immediate application goes.• I Love your posts! †Bill

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