Jesus taught, ‘Use your worldly resources to benefit others and to make friends. In this way your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven.’” (Luke 16:9b NLT)
He isn’t saying you can buy yourself into heaven. That’s impossible. God has already paid the price for us to spend eternity in heaven. Jesus’ death on the cross paid everything. We can’t earn or buy our ticket to heaven.
But Jesus is reminding us of two particular truths about money –
Money can’t last. Jesus calls our resources “worldly resources.” That’s because it will only last as long as the world lasts. God has put what we have in our lives in our hands for a very brief time.
Say I hold stock in two different companies. Imagine I could tell you with complete confidence that one of these companies will go bankrupt in six weeks and the other will see growing profits for as far into the future as we can imagine. Which one would you invest in? The answer is obvious.
That’s the same choice we have with our money. This world won’t last. God’s world, God’s plan, God’s people, and God’s salvation will last forever. Which are you investing your resources in – what will last and what won’t?
Money can impact eternity. Jesus said to use money to make friends. He’s not saying buy friends. When somebody gives you money to meet a genuine need in your life, that gift can create a friendship. That gift can last forever.
Say you take someone out to lunch one day. That gesture may cost you $15 to $20. But that relationship turns into a friendship. Eventually, that person sees the difference Jesus makes in your life. He or she comes to church and meets other believers who also show the love of Christ. In time, your friend will begin a relationship with Jesus. That lunch — that $15 to $20 — made a difference for all of eternity. That’s the kind of investment that honors Jesus.
That’s our motivation to give to the church and other Kingdom causes. We want to help people become friends of Jesus through experiencing his love and his forgiveness. When you give your offering in church, it’s not about that offering plate. It’s about those who will be reached through that gift.
Artwork by Barton Damer