Sunday, September 22, 2013

Faithfulness test

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 16:1-18

 TO CHEW ON:"'He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?'" Luke 16:10-11

Has it ever occurred to you that your current material plenty may be a test? Jesus' teaching here indicates that how we handle "unrighteous mammon" may set the stage for how much of the "true riches" we become responsible.

["Unrighteous mammon" is translated: deceitful riches, money, possessions [Amplified], worldly wealth [NIV & NLT], unrighteous wealth [NASB].

"True riches" - is translated true riches in each version I checked. It comes from the Greek word "Alethinos" - Strong's #228:
"1. that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true genuine

2. true, veracious, sincere.]

The goal for such stewardship is "faithfulness" [Pistos - one who keeps his plighted faith, worthy of trust, someone who can be relied on].

It is interesting to look up some of the Bible passages that use this word.
- Paul describes God as faithful. We get our standard and resources for faithfulness from Him.
- Paul also describes Timothy as faithful.
- Faithfulness precedes promotion.
- It is our goal as servants of Christ.

So, what does faithfulness in the area of material wealth consist of? Does it mean we give everything away? Or lavish our extra on what we considered to be "true riches" projects and causes? What about going into debt? (Verse 12 might be considered an indirect reference to it: "And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own?")

A sidebar article in my Bible suggests a simple formula for faithful stewardship:
"Pay God (give), pay yourself (save), pay your bills. Being trustworthy in these matters opens the door to greater spiritual wealth." Clark Whitten "Stewardship and Debt," New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1420.

PRAYER: Dear God, I have so much compared to people in many parts of the world. Help me to see my wealth in terms of eternity — and as a means of proving myself worthy to administer "true wealth" of which my money, house and car are only blurry shadows. Amen.

MORE: "Find Us Faithful" by Steve Green and the Gaither Vocal Band

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