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Blessed are the sneaky and dishonest!

September 17, 2016

I’ve been reading Jesus word’s from Luke 16.1-13 and I’m shocked. I’m shocked because he seems to be saying, “Blessed are the sneaky and dishonest!?” Read it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

Now, I know that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus lists all sorts of people who are blessed by God (Matthew 5.3-12). He includes the peacemakers and the merciful, and even those who mourn but here Jesus seems to be adding another group: Blessed are the sneaky and dishonest. This is what Jesus said, “My disciples, I tell you to use wicked wealth to make friends for yourselves. Then when it is gone, you will be welcomed into an eternal home.” Luke 16.9

I have been thinking, pondering, worrying over this for a while. I’ve stomped around grumbling at Jesus. Why couldn’t he be simple and straight forward? Then I went back to what Jesus was saying. Particularly, my eyes were drawn to what he said right after these puzzling few words. My eyes were drawn to, “You cannot be the slave of two masters. You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than to the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16.13)

The light came on in my head, not a very bright light, but at least a light. Jesus isn’t saying that I should be sneaky and dishonest, to be wicked in the way I use money. No, Jesus is telling me not to worry about money one way or the other. I need to focus on serving God then all the ‘wicked money’ in the world can’t hurt me. I can spend money wisely, make shrewd use of what is given. I can use it… and let it go.

I am to love God with all that I am, then the love of money can’t get a hold of me. I need to remember that. I don’t think that I’m ruled by the love of money, but I do like having it around. I do like knowing that I have enough to pay the bills; or to fix the car if I have to. But I’m slowly learning that that healthy respect for the usefulness of money can go rotten. It can go from a healthy stewardship of the gifts given, to hording “what’s mine”! I keep slipping into this. The difference is so subtle that I fail so easily.

I’ve found that the only answer is to stop and spend some time with God. I can’t seem to fight it head-on, I just get stressed and more worried about money. But if I stop, and pray, and let the Spirit in, then and only then, do I find the worry about money losing its power. It is as though it is a bad dream that is fading as I wake up. There was nothing for me to worry about. I just needed to trust and be generous, and everything else falls into place. I know it, I’ve lived it. But still, I fall into that same old trap again and again. And God has to pull me out, again and again.

I’m now letting God calm me and the love of money is fading away. But still I hear a whisper, faint, at the edge of hearing, “You keep failing”, “Give up”, Give in”, “Love me more”. The whisper, louder now, says, “Blessed are the hoarders”, “Blessed are the rich”’, “Blessed are the sneaky and dishonest”… “Follow me and I’ll show you how”… “Just look at the news”… “Just look at those rich bankers, they’ve no cares”… “Just give up, give in and love me more”…

I’m now letting the Spirit fill me again, and the whispers become fainter… Strong in the Spirit, I laugh at the whisperer, the muttering fades and the Tempter retreats. I smile.

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