“And the Lord said, who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom His lord shall make ruler over His household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom His Lord when He comes shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that He will make Him ruler over all that He has. But and if that servant say in his heart, my Lord delays His coming; and to eat and drink, and to be drunken, the Lord of that servant will come in a day when He looks not for Him and at an hour when He is not aware and will cut him in sunder and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers” – Luke 12:46-47, italics are mine.
We all know the portion of the unbelievers. That is, their eternal portion. O how our stewardship here, again, is connected to the side of eternity that awaits us!
True Riches, Eternal Personal Riches!
This scripture refers both to the spiritual and the physical; our faithfulness in handling the Word of God (rightly dividing the Word of Truth) and, or in distributing the mammon of unrighteousness. In fact, it is more of the latter if taken literarily. REMEMBER LAZARUS AND THE RICH MAN, for example, which story also came up in this very Luke Chapter 16! That is Luke 16:19-31. So we must not shy away from the context of Luke 16. Actually, much of Luke 16 is very critical in this subject of giving, real giving, and securing eternity: that vast future that is ahead with God.
You can see Luke 16:1-13, but we shall take it from verse 9-13: “And I say unto you; make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that WHEN YOU FAIL, THEY may RECEIVE YOU INTO EVERLASTING HABITATIONS. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall 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 hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
“When you fail”: Some have taken this to mean when you lack or are in want, after doing ‘wisely’ by helping others however crude the method is. But we dare say that Jesus used the story to background His command. The story or background is in verse 1 through 8 which ended with: “for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light”. He used that story to lead Him and His hearers to where He was going: His command, which is from verse 9. And it is this: “And I say unto you …” “And when ye fail”, may be understood to mean “when you die”, for He said that they i.e. your works of love, (‘breast feeding” endeavors and ‘blood’) that properly circulated to give huge life-line to other believers, missionaries et cetera, may receive you into everlasting habitations.
This is also the truth Paul stated clearly in 1Timothy 6:17-19 and which, we suppose has been well treated so far in this series, and which we must necessarily quote here: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
Jesus Two Posers, One Purpose
What is more: Jesus asked, “and if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches”? Here, unrighteous mammon contrasts with true riches. Where do we have unrighteous mammon, and where do we have true riches? It is as simple as ABC: on earth and in Heaven respectively.
When we use the unrighteous mammon the way God expects them to be used it is only then that we can be entrusted with the true riches. In other words only those who are using the unrighteous mammon faithfully on earth can be given or rewarded with the true riches in all of eternity. The whole thing once more is tied to our state in Heaven. To use the unrighteous mammon faithfully here is to lay treasures, true riches in Heaven which when we pass on become ‘ours’. It is only the true riches we get when we get to Heaven that are really ours, genuinely ours. Not the unrighteous mammon in our possession here on earth. See how Jesus put it again, repeating what He has said already in different language on purpose:
“And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?” What is it that is referred to here as another man’s? It is the unrighteous mammon. How come? This is the truth that may baffle many. We are simply caretaker of them. We take care for God. We take care of the people (especially the Household of Faith) for God with the mammon of unrighteousness. Primarily God owns these things. And by extension the people (the Household of Faith) own these things: It is a commonwealth. And every commonwealth is put in the charge of some. This is what God does. And He intends the commonwealth to go round. This is the only reason God allows we have the mammon of unrighteousness: to let it go round!
And to the extent that we (those graciously in possession of this commonwealth or the caretakers or channels of flow of these provisions) are still part of the Household of Faith we become partakers of the commonwealth because we must also take care of our needs: Needs indeed, needs determined by the spirit and not the flesh for the flesh is insatiable, and with the mammon of unrighteousness avid to the extreme. By the flesh you can never get enough. By it you can gain the whole world and you are just starting to accumulate. And by it therefore many have sadly lost their souls to eternal fire of hell eventually. It is the spirit we must allow to determine our needs. This is what allows others to meet with their needs as well.
And as we do this we are building up our true riches in Heaven. When the Landlord comes, and takes stock, and we are found faithful, then the true riches that no man can canker, that flesh cannot rubbish, and that are truly ours shall be ushered into our eternal embrace. Eternal riches, eternally the individual’s! Proverbs call them durable riches, and they are with God alongside righteousness: “Riches and honour are with Me; yea, durable riches and righteousness” – Proverbs 8:18. Let us live on this side of eternity with a view of getting those true, eternal and durable riches.
But if we are now unfaithful with that which is ‘unrighteous’, and which is another man’s forget about that which ordinarily should be ours eternally. To forfeit our true riches or what the Scriptures also calls ‘eternal inheritance’ – and we speak of the aspect of eternal inheritance that has to do with rewards – because of our flesh and or because of the transient things which are not even ours, in the first place, is a terrible thing.
Then Jesus went further to say: “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Yes, there is a general and non-restrictive sense we can always apply this. But specifically, however, or if we must necessarily also understand this in context – and of course, we should – we would know that our unfaithful uses of the unrighteous mammon, which in the first place is not ours but another man’s, is the worship of mammon. Inability to spare what is above our needs for the Household of Faith; the fleshly self al
location of the commonwealth which God was gracious enough to pass through us; the closed barns; and the ‘seeking of great things for ourselves’ is this mammon worship. And we cannot do that and say we are serving God. And if we are not serving God what then will be our eternal hope. This matter is tied to eternity!
So, in the things God passes through us now let us be channels of distribution, let us be faithful stewards and let us not abuse the excesses so that God’s intention for the Household of Faith would be realized through us. God intends His Church to be an exemplary community: A holy and saintly community given to love, sharing and great fellowship and where none have over and none lack: where there is equality. And when men see this they will know that we are the Disciples of Christ, and God shall then add daily they that are saved into the Church. Think about it. This is what Jesus intends in the Gospels; this is what we see in the Acts of the Apostles and this is the admonition that runs through the Epistles.
Some are Focused
It is certainly not all believers today who are living in ceiled houses and letting the houses and temples of God (in our churches and mission fields) lie waste (Haggai 1:4). There are still very few Christians today who are laying treasures in Heaven, who have true riches stored up for themselves in Heaven and whose heart are in Heaven while they labor on earth to further the gospel of the Kingdom here on earth with every provision God deems fit to channel through them. Yes, in this age some are poised to lay hold on eternal life – both rich and poor alike.
Yours faithfully believes very strongly in prosperity: The prosperity that should not allow the brethren and God’s Vineyard (especially such that are in very difficult lands) to waste. He believes in great riches. He believes in God adding riches upon riches to him but not for him to consume upon his lust but AS A CHANNEL, A CARETAKER and A STEWARD! It is bad enough to seek riches (for God says He will add them as we seek His Kingdom and its righteousness). It is worse to seek them (riches) for ourselves: “And seeks you great things for yourself? Seek them not” – Jeremiah 45:5.
There are Christians, rich and poor, virtually diverting all their earnings from the financial, oil & energy, telecommunication sectors etc to God’s work and purpose in the ‘10-40 window’ and similar difficult places if peradventure God would save some. Some of them sponsor tens and scores of missionaries to foreign lands. Rich and poor alike are investing seriously in God’s vineyard, nay, in Heaven, because for this purpose they are saved and are still here. Those rich are becoming or rather living poor that others may be rich or at least comfortable and these others may be here at home or abroad engaged in the Master’s work.