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Jesus, the Defender of the Poor

The love of money—and all the comfort, status, and stuff it can bring—thrives in our culture. It can trick us into believing that our value is equated with a healthy 401K or the job title on our office door. As John Piper writes, “The issue is not how much a person makes. . . . The evil is in being deceived into thinking a six- digit salary must be accompanied by a six-digit lifestyle.”

The Pharisees loved money (v. 14). And while the first parable of today’s reading is difficult to interpret, it’s clear that the dishonest manager has been fired from his job because he wasted the rich man’s possessions. “Give an account of your management,” his boss demands (v. 2), signaling the accountability each of us will have before God for the stewardship of every earthly resource given to us—time, talents, money, energy, or education. Did we use them for our fame or selfish pleasure, or for God’s glory and His holy purposes?

Jesus talked so often about money because it’s indisputable evidence of our heart’s allegiance. What we love, we buy. What we delight in, we spend on. And the Pharisees were like the rich man described at the end of the chapter. They lived in luxury and disregard for the poor, forgetting the essential nature of godly stewardship.

Godly stewardship answers two essential questions: Who owns my stuff? And how long will it last? A faithful steward understands that he does not own his things. God owns everything and lends it graciously to His people. A faithful steward also understands the temporary nature of houses and cars, clothes and vacations. Every luxury has limited worth compared to the eternal riches Christ’s followers will inherit. To live in right relationship to God demands that we live in right relationship to money.

Apply the Word

Take time to inventory your spending. Are you giving sacrificially to your local church and others that help the poor and powerless? Or are you spending more on a lifestyle of comfort and convenience? Consider Jesus’ words, Give an account of your management, as well as the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

BY Jennifer Michel

Jen Pollock Michel is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Her first book, Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith, is published by InterVarsity Press. Jen earned her BA in French from Wheaton College and her MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and five children, and serves on staff at Grace Toronto Church.

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