Faithful in Little

“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?

“No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money.”

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.  He said to them,  “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.  What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”  Luke 16:10-15.

I’m pretty sure there will be people who read this passage who squirm and sidestep, look for wiggle room and just ache to explain away the pointed way in which Jesus approaches the subject of worldly wealth, but let me save you the trouble:  There’s no avoiding it, He wants our hearts to value something else other than worldly wealth.

Yet look how Jesus gets to the subject of true riches.  First, He explains that unless we are trustworthy with worldly wealth we will never be trusted with true riches.  I can only surmise by the context here He is speaking of spiritual wealth.  Then He turns the truth over to the other side of that coin to point at our responsibility toward other people’s property.  In other words our faithfulness, honesty and disinterest in selfish gain must include not only our own finances but others.  Being responsible for our own might actually be easy for some of us; being responsible for ours as well as other’s property takes balanced thinking.  Notice Jesus doesn’t condemn money or worldly wealth, rather He calls us to untie our chains to it.  We are to serve only one Master, everything else is subject Him.

Again we approach the subject of being trustworthy in the matter of godly things over worldly.  I’ve written quite a bit about finding a mate in this world where I’ve emphasized the need for spiritual growth and dedication; here is another area where we have to get our outlook right for God to trust us with another person’s life and heart.  If our own lives are not transformed into God’s image and the mind of Christ, God will not trust us with a spiritual partner because we will be a discouragement to them as well as a drag on both their calling and lives.

God first gives us little to see how we will handle it, then as our abilities increase, He increases our responsibilities.  Notice in the text above how the Pharisees “sneered” at Jesus message, then look at  His answer to their scoffing.  What God values is heart change, being heavenly minded lived out in the real world and a sense of detachment from all the world has to offer, requires or seeks to own.  A lot of men and women claiming to be followers of Jesus want to be married to godly people yet use worldly methods to both attract and evaluate them.  I think Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees translates to this subject as well:  What is highly valued in the eyes of men is detestable in God’s sight.

So what does God value that man does not?

Character.  The character of Christ lived out in both our attitude and actions.  A heart change which shows itself unmistakably in our daily routines, values and relationships.  What we value will shift 180 degrees from the world’s perspective.

What does Paul tell us to do?  Be transformed into the mind of God, only in this way will we be able to figure out what His will is.  Coming from an outsider’s perspective just contaminates the pot.  Since we cannot serve two masters according to Jesus, trying to continue being carnal minded while seeking spiritual truth from God’s lips will only end in chaos and confusion.  No one seeking to know the mind of God from a Christ oriented POV goes to an accountant or politician, for these people, who might even be spiritual in their own right, probably won’t be speaking the mind of God.  No, we turn to the source of truth, the Bible and those who adhere to and teach it, where we find enough instructions and illustrations enough to give us some kind of idea what will be required.

The Pharisees worried about what other people thought of them more than they did about God’s opinion.  They concerned themselves with popular opinion over true righteousness of the heart.  If we use the same methods of evaluation, we will fail to meet the criterion just as they did.  We will also fail to fulfill the purpose of God for our own lives as well.  If we try to serve both self-interest and God’s will, we will come up with nothing but emptiness, failing both.  The only use of worldly wealth is demonstrate our faithfulness to our new Master, Jesus, any other motivation will divide our hearts and cause us to either shipwreck our faith or be weighed down with unnecessary anxiety.

The book of Judges repeats a sentence in three or four places throughout the book, which says,  In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.  Judges 21:25.  Reading that book we find chaos, erratic behaviors and foolish thinking, along with the results of some very bad choices.  This sentence is a warning to those who would mix God’s ways with the ways of men.  We have a king, His name is Jesus, and our instructions are quite clear.  Deviating from His Word will only end in disaster–either now or in the Judgment.

He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.  Proverbs 28:26.

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and understanding begins and ends with knowledge of the Holy one.

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One Response to “Faithful in Little”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    I remember 1989 when the Berlin wall came down and Eastern Europe met Western Europe. I was there and would watch in awe as their little Trabi (sp?) vehicles would be stuffed with people as they stared out the windows at a site they thought they would never see. They would walk through the grocery store and OOO and AHHH over the veggies and the choices.

    We are so blessed and don’t even think about the conditions of others. Jesus was trying to change that. What a radical concept to share in our blessings!

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