Scripture: Luke 16:1-13
In Luke 16 Jesus is talking to Pharisees who were lovers of money. Notice verse 14: “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at him.” He had just told them the parable of the unrighteous steward in verses 1-13. The point of that parable is that the way you use your money (he calls it “unrighteous mammon”) can make or break your eternal destiny. Verse 9 says, “I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.”
In other words, money is going to fail. It will do you no good at all on your death-bed. And whether you have an eternal habitation will depend, at least in part, on whether you used your money to advance the cause of Christ in the lives of others, or whether you used it to advance your comforts and your status symbols. That is the point of verse 11: “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches?”
In other words, the possession of money in this world is a test run for eternity. Can you pass the test of faithfulness with your money? Do you use it as a means of proving the worth of God and the joy you have in supporting his cause? Or does the way you use it prove that what you really enjoy is things, not God?
Verse 14 says the Pharisees hear all this and scoff at Jesus because they are lovers of money. Christ has touched a raw nerve of their lives. Beneath all their religious veneer, they love money. Jesus saw it and nailed it. So what is the real meaning of their scoffing? Verse 15 gives us the real meaning: they are trying to justify themselves. Instead of repentance, which would have opened the way to receive Jesus for who he really is—the radical teacher of righteousness—the Pharisees try to justify themselves by making Jesus look foolish with their scoffing.
So now we are onto something in this chapter of Luke’s gospel. We need to test it further. So far it looks like the love of money is a great obstacle to receiving Christ for who he really is. And so the preparation we need in order to receive Christ for who he really is, is something that frees us from the love of money.