Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 24, 2019

“The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 16:1-13.

“Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.  And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you?  Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’  The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me?  I am not strong enough to dig;  I am ashamed to beg.  I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’  And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’  And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’  And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’  Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’  And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’  He *said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’  And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly;  for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.  And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much;  and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.  Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?  And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?  No servant can serve two masters;  for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”  Luke 16:1-13.

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Certainly, Jesus is not teaching us to abuse the trust of our employer and mismanage our employer’s property.  Rather, Jesus is figuratively telling a story to support His point that wealth can be used for others in different and shrewd ways (that can also make friends and benefit one’s self) instead of only using wealth for one’s own greedy personal consumption.  “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.”  Verse 9.

I think of an attorney with whom I shared law office space for many years.  He shared the wealth in different ways with those in his building.  As one example, his clients gave him gifts, because he would sometimes do minor legal services for them for free, and they would give him gifts of a basket of fruit or box of candy or other gifts of food and drink.  Although he had every right to take those gifts home for himself, he would place them on the common area table where the coffee was located to be free for staff, clients, and even visitors to take one item.  We all loved him, and he had a very prosperous law practice.

I also think of a realtor who always insisted on paying me immediately at the time of my service to him.  Although he had every right to mail a check to me at his leisure after he received my invoice, he made me wait in his office while his assistant cut a check for me.  We all loved doing work for him, and he had a very prosperous realty business.

“27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in your power to do it.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,”
When you have it with you.”  Proverbs 3:27-28.

The following Proverbs also give us some different creative and wise examples of how we can use wealth to help others and also our self.  As I read this Scripture, I think of businesses giving free samples.  Although they are scattering their product, to use the language of the following Scripture, they increase their profit because more people will buy the product if they get to try a sample.  This Scripture also teaches that you can sell a product or service for a fair price, and people will be loyal customers.  By so doing, you will do better than if you tried to maximize profit on each sale.

“24 There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more,
And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.
25 The generous man will be prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered.
26 He who withholds grain, the people will curse him,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.”  Proverbs 11:24-26.

In summary, when we trust God, rather than trust our wealth, we are more willing to share our wealth with others.  “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.  Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.”  1 Timothy 6:17-19.


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