My notes from Stephen Um’s session at TGC13′s national conference, “His mission: Jesus in the gospel of Luke.” (All notes are paraphrased.)
Jesus talked a lot of money. He talked about greed about ten times more than he did sexual sin. This is not to minimize sexual sin, but it helps us recognize the insidiousness of greed—the danger of the love of money.
When someone is committing adultery, no one needs to come alongside them and say, “Hey, you’re committing adultery.” But when it comes to greed, we’re not always sure. That’s why Jesus says, “take care, be aware, be on guard.”
There are no accountability groups for greed in the church. There’s no computer software. But we need to recognize the seductive power money can have in our hearts.
Before we start, we need to recognize three things: we need to disaffect our view of money because we often look at money and think it’s a dirty word. Obviously because we live in a fallen world, we’ve seen money used and abused—but God gives money to us as a gift. Secondly, we need to view money as a tool. It’s not any more inherently evil than any other thing God has created. Thirdly, we need to have an intentional theological understanding of money.
There are three truths I’d like us to understand from this passage:
The problem of money
What’s going on in our passage is Jesus is telling a story to his disciples, that there was a very rich man who told a manager to turn in his records, and then we was going to fire him. The loss of the position as manager in Roman culture meant the forfeiting of your social status.
1. The first danger of money is clearly seen here in that it can become your security.
The manager had to make a fundamental choice about his allegiance. Money is morally neutral, but the heart isn’t neutral. He could have repented of his dishonest actions, he could have been like the younger son in Luke 15‘s parable, but we see he wasn’t repentant. The unjust steward instead looked to himself, asking “What shall I do?”
He turned to himself for the solution, instead of away. The danger of money is it can become our security.
This person is extremely anxious, he’s insecure. He’s afraid—he says, “What am I supposed to do?” His identity was wrapped up in his work. So what does he do? He comes up with a plan.
The problem is he went back to the problem for the solution. He didn’t look outside the problem for the solution. Why is this man in this situation? Because he wasted his master’s possessions. THe word “wasted” here is the same word used in Luke 15 for the younger son who “squandered” his property. It refers to reckless living—the manager misappropriated funds for his own purposes.
It’s a character issue, not a competence one. [Read more…]