Generous with someone else’s money…in the parable Jesus told to his disciples one day (Luke 16:1), that is what the steward, working on behalf of his generous lord, was. Generous with Someone Else’s money…that’s what we are all, stewards of our generous Lord, called to be.
The home, the cars, the college savings account, the retirement savings...none of it is really OURS, is it? At first glance it appears otherwise. We make OUR money and save OUR hard-earned dollars to cash in for future rewards. But the words of Job (Job 1:21) still hold true for all of us today: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return [to the grave].” The words of the Chronicler regarding offerings to the Jerusalem temple are true for offerings received in our own worship: “All things come from You [oh God] and of Your own we have given You” (1 Chronicles 29:14). Even the health required to get up in the morning and go in to work is nothing to take for granted. Even that comes from the hand of our generous Lord.
So the question comes: what does generosity with our generous Lord’s money look like, in real, day-to-day terms? Does Jesus expect us to all join religious orders that take vows of poverty? Is Jesus implying that the amount we give or donate puts us into a special category, as if we can buy our way into heaven? Is there more grace available for people who tithe (give 10% or more their income to the church or other charities) than there might be for others? No. The logic of our text is more complicated than that. Money is not inherently evil, but Jesus knows we live in a world where we are in danger of being mastered by the LOVE of money. Luke 16 calls us to a 3-part task: 1) Take stock of what we have and realize that it all is a gift from our generous Lord; 2) intentionally and generously dedicate a portion of what we have to God’s work in a world of needs; 3) then live freely and thankfully with the remainder, confident that (because of what Jesus has accomplished!) we are already living out the joy of dwelling in an eternal dwelling place, a home that we are given to see with the eyes of faith.
We are a generous people because we have been blessed by a generous Lord. Our ability to serve the neediest in our midst is made possible by the saving work of Jesus Christ. May the generous Lord who has given us all…even our eternal dwelling places…guide and direct us!