Several years ago, I built a loft for my daughter. We found some plans online and my mom came to visit for a weekend and helped construct the loft. As I reviewed the plans, however, they called for the use of a very specific tool (a Kreg Jig) to create angled drill holes for screws.
I didn’t have the tool, so we tried other methods of accomplishing the same task. It didn’t work because we were trying to use tools to do something they weren’t meant to do. I’ve seen this before. What might take lots of effort with the wrong tool is effortless with the right one. There’s a right purpose and a wrong one for each tool.
The same is true about money. In many respects, money is just another tool. There are right ways to use it as well as wrong ones. In today’s parable, Jesus told his disciples how to use money:
For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Luke 16:8-9
This parable is a little more confusing than some others, but here’s the basic idea: Jesus wants them to use worldly wealth for kingdom purposes. Later he would tell them they can’t serve both God and money. When you serve money, it no longer functions as a tool, but as a slave driver.
However, when we serve God first, money becomes a tool. Like the disciples, we can use the worldly wealth we have been given to benefit the kingdom. There are lots of ways to do this, but they all share a common theme. Money, when used rightly, works to further God’s mission. That means using it to provide for the needs of others and to point back to Jesus. How are you using the worldly wealth that Jesus has given you?