The second lesson concerns the issue of money.
Jesus said to use money to make friends. Luke 16:9 (NIV).
This might seem like an odd command at first, perhaps even unspiritual to some.
But money is a powerful means by which one can make friends. Think about it: What is most important to the prevailing culture of those who do not know God? What is it that people who do not know God spend their careers pursuing, often at the expense of family and friends? What is it that people who don’t know God think if they just had more of they would be happy? Obviously this is not true of all people who do not know God, but who can deny it is true for the prevailing secular culture?
When you spend money on someone who does not know God–whether it is buying them lunch or a gift to thank them or bless them, for example, on their birthday–you are parting with the thing (money) that is most important them. What better evidence can you provide to your non-Christians friends that you care for them?
Like the manager in the parable my workplace includes not just the people in my office but my clients. I finished a case for one client a few years ago but kept in touch with him after the case was settled. He was not a Christian and over the years I prayed for his salvation. Then last Fall he fell on hard times and couldn’t even pay rent. Knowing the Lord often uses difficult financial times to help people turn to Him, I prayed about whether it was time for me to share the Gospel with him. The answer I got when I prayed surprised me, but it was as clear as any I’ve received in prayer: “Meet his needs.”
So, that’s what I did. I gave him money for rent that month and then called to check on him toward the end of the month for the next few months. Each time I gave money to help him pay his bills. He knew I was a Christian, and the last time he came in to pick up a check he thanked me and then told me about how he had been praying and asking God for help. The conversation naturally turned to God’s provision, how He answers prayer and then salvation. Witnesses to him was easy. There was nothing awkward, forced or contrived about it. He brought it the subject. He knew I was a Christian and felt comfortable talking to me about God because I had proven I cared for him. Sharing came easy after caring.
The dishonest employee used money to make friends in his workplace with his employer’s customers. He understood the power of money in building relationships, so much so his employer praised him for his shrewdness. Jesus is looking for the same shrewdness in the workplace for His followers.
Next, the third lesson from the Parable of the Shrewd Manager, which is the one you instinctively knew but didn’t know you knew…you know? GS