They say that “you can’t take it with you,” and they’re right — there won’t be anything to spend your dollars and cents on in Heaven. But that doesn’t mean that money doesn’t matter; in fact, the way we handle money on earth can have eternal consequences.
In this series, we’ve been talking about the fact that God desires for us to prosper, and to be successful with the financial resources that He has given us. We’ve learned that prosperity is a fruit of righteousness, that obeying God brings financial blessings, and that if we follow God wholeheartedly, He teaches us how to succeed.
Most of those lessons speak directly to our human lives, but we know that there’s a lot more to this existence than the lives that we lead here on Earth. As Christians, we must always live with eternity in mind. And though it may seem surprising, the Bible tells us that the way that we handle our money in this life will have eternal reverberations.
This principle comes out of a parable that we find in Luke 16. The parable as a whole can be a little bit difficult to understand, and we’ll leave it to you to read it in its entirety. For today, we’re going to focus on verses 9-11:
9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?
It could be easy to misunderstand what Jesus is saying here, so let’s unpack it a little bit. In verse 9, does He mean that we should try to buy friendship? I don’t think so. I think what Jesus is saying is that instead of only using our money for things that we need and enjoy, we should make sure that we use some of our resources to bless other people. When we use our money to bless other people, we will make friends along the way. But friendship isn’t the end goal — Jesus says that when we bless people with our money, we will be “welcomed into eternal dwellings.” In other words, there’s an eternal payoff when we use our money in the right way. Worldly wealth won’t last forever, but the rewards that come from blessing and generosity will. The fruit of our financial management will follow us into eternity.
Handling money rightly opens doors for us in this life and the next. It also gives us access to more valuable things. Notice what Jesus says in verse 11: If we are trustworthy in the way that we handle worldly wealth, God will trust us with “true riches.”
This is huge for me. In this terrestrial existence, it’s very easy to get caught up in money. We so often think that silver and gold are the only things of value. But God doesn’t see it that way at all — from His point of view, money doesn’t have any meaningful value at all. True riches — the riches of His love, His glory, His anointing and His fellowship — go far beyond the value of money. But the way we handle money will affect the access we have to these “true riches.”
God wants to see us prosper, but what He wants more than that is surrendered hearts and responsibility. God wants you to surrender your financial life to Him, and to manage your money responsibly in a way that will bring Him glory. And He tells us that money is a litmus test for our trustworthiness and responsibility. If we don’t surrender our finances to Him, and don’t use them to His glory, why would we ask Him to entrust us with anything else?
If your vision for this life goes beyond money, I applaud you. But let me also encourage you that money is not insignificant. If you want to accomplish great things in the Kingdom of God, start by mastering your finances. Money may be a small thing, but if you want to move on to greater stewardship, you’re going to have to be faithful in finance.
Do the right thing with your worldly wealth, and God will entrust you with true riches.
Photo by Kevin Dooley. Used under Creative Commons License.