Fred Zaspel

Jesus on Money

 

“The people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:8-9)

 

hoardinguse weath wiselyIn this passage the Lord Jesus exhorts us about the use of our money. His criticism and instruction may be a bit puzzling at first, but the idea is really quite simple. The whole theme of the context is the right use of our money and material possessions. Jesus criticizes the “children of light” as lacking the wisdom of the “children of this world. ” That is, unrighteous men, as a rule, use their money for their objectives more wisely than we use our money for our objectives. Their goals are clearly defined, their diligence is constant, and all of life is taken up into those goals. Now of course their goals are selfish and self-centered with no thought of the will of God. But that is not the point.
The point is, they know what they want, and they set out to get it. And get it they do! Nothing – but nothing – will get in their way. They know well how to use their money and possessions to achieve their objectives.

Does that sound like the way you use your money in the cause of Christ? Jesus’ criticism hits the mark, doesn’t it. In the use of our money as Christians, we do not have the good sense of unbelievers. We don’t spend our money very well in keeping with our objectives and goals.

So then, how should we use our money? Answer: “so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. ” Clearly this has something to do with our entrance into the glory of heaven, but what precisely does it mean? Who will “welcome” us in heaven? Evidently, Jesus is speaking of those who will meet us upon our arrival. They will greet us with thanksgiving – thanksgiving to us! – for our use of our material possessions for their benefit.

For example, here is a man who gives to a Christian brother who has need. Of course he gives to further the ministry of his local church. He gives his money to promote gospel enterprises at home and abroad. In short, he uses his money to further the cause of Christ. When it comes time for this man to die, Jesus says, he will be “received” into heaven by a host of men and women who are grateful to him for his faithfulness on their behalf. There will be men and women whom he had helped, and they will welcome him to glory. There will be Christian preachers and teachers in whose ministries he had a very tangible part. And there will be men and women who came to Christ because (in part) of the way he used his money for the work of Christ. And the picture is of all these people standing by the gates of heaven welcoming home this one to whom they owe a debt of gratitude. It is really a beautiful scene, one that is exciting with its prospect.

We know that we cannot “take anything out of this world. ” Money – as money – cannot be taken to heaven with us. Nor can we use our money to buy our way into heaven. Our riches here have nothing whatever to do with our riches there. But our money may be used in such a way as to intensify our happiness and blessedness there. Think of it.

So instead of hoarding for here, Jesus says, be wise. Use your money well. Use it so as to reap dividends that are eternal. Heaven cannot be bought, but by faithfulness with our material things we may earn rewards that last forever. Use it in such a way that it will meet you again in heaven.

~ Fred

 

Fred Zaspel

Pastor Zaspel holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Free University of Amsterdam. He is currently a pastor at the Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA. He is also Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA. He is the author of The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary (Crossway, 2010) and Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel (Crossway, 2012). In addition Fred is the editor of Books At A Glance.

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