“And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.
Luke 16:8 (NASB)
What does Jesus mean when He says that the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light? (v. 8) Not that it’s better to live in the dark than in the light. Jesus wants His disciples to understand that the children of the world operate consistent with their system. From their explanation of the how the Earth was formed all the way into today’s thinking, the world’s message is: Survival of the fittest. Look out for yourself first; too bad for other people.
Jesus says that the children of light aren’t consistent with their system because they’ll come into the light for salvation, but then wander around in the shadows, i.e. Well maybe the tithe really isn’t important.
But if you live in the light, you find God’s system explodes with light. When you understand the Lord’s order regarding finances, it brings peace as well as provision. Stress still happens, but you’re not chewed up by it. Your kids learn how to handle money so it doesn’t stampede them into becoming mirrors of the covetous world.
Jesus isn’t saying, Buy all the friends you can get. “Mammon” is a word used for money, but it’s more reflective of the spirit that surrounds money rather than money itself. Money itself is amoral, but there is a spirit around money that becomes compulsive in almost everybody. If you go outside right now and find a dollar by your car, you’ll probably look for more.
When Jesus calls it “unrighteous,” He means money doesn’t work out fair. It is the world’s system. That’s why the Lord says, You better make friends with money… meaning, You better neutralize the power of money to be your enemy.
The problem with money is that it never solves anything as long as it’s in the world’s system. The only way to neutralize money’s power to become your enemy is to get it out from under the control of mammon, and bring it under the control of God by the choices you make to function after God’s order. It’s just that simple.
When you make a fundamental business decision to bring your money under God’s government, that doesn’t mean you will never face a stress point. It means that when money fails [more correctly translated as “it” rather than “you”] (v. 9)—or is eclipsed by the unexpected, unbudgeted things that chew at us—that you will be in a durable place that is stable, one you’ve been brought into when you gained eternal life with Christ.
Everything about the life you’ve received in Christ is already eternal with one exception: your body. It’s going to die and then someday you’ll get an eternal one. But we’ve been introduced to an eternal quality of life now—Jesus brings you to a place to live.
Pastor Jack Hayford