Luke 16

Luke 16 has a couple very important lessons for us.  The first has to do with being accountable.  Jesus tells the story of the manager who learns that he is going to be let go, and then goes to the debtors of his boss and writes down their debt.  He had justified it to himself.  He was building some good will with people hoping it would provide some favors in return at some point.  Of course, the boss finds out and while intrigued with the resourcefulness, is not amused.  Jesus teaches us a very important truth from that story: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much”.  Do little while lies matter?  Does taking something small from work really make a difference?  After all, the office supply area is full of pens and paper clips and boxes of staples – no one will miss anything.  How about taking an extra 5 minutes of break time, or coming in 5 minutes late or leaving 15 minutes early?  Everyone does it don’t they?  The reality is that it isn’t the specific action that matters – it is the condition of the heart that counts.  The failure to be honest in even the little things is an indicator that you will likely fail in larger areas at some point in the future.  It isn’t just stuff either.  Guys justify picking up a magazine or logging on to the Internet for a quick look at something inappropriate.  That doesn’t hurt anyone, and it is just a glance.  Wrong guys, and gals too for that matter if you do the same.  Jesus is teaching us that when we make a choice – and it is exactly that – a choice – to do wrong it means we are not going to make the right choices with big things either.  We can’t be trusted.  I have heard it many times – “I would never do anything like this that mattered” when someone is explaining why they drove the company car for personal use, bought something personally on the company credit card, took that long lunch without getting approval from their manager.  The list of ways we are unfaithful in the little things goes on and on.  Almost always we justify them as not counting or making any difference.  But they do with God.  They reveal the heart.  And the root cause of it all: we “justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts”.  There it is.  God doesn’t keep score of the little things we do but the condition of our heart.  And Jesus boils down the issue like this: “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money”.  So who are you serving?  God or self?  That is really what this comes down to.  Who is on the throne of your life?

Jesus goes on to tell the story of Lazarus.  He was poor and laid by the gate begging to survive.  One day “The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side”.   So we have a clear picture of heaven and hell here.  Lazarus is in heaven with God, the rich man who had stuff but no relationship with God was in Hades and didn’t like it.  It was very unpleasant and he wanted out.  But his money couldn’t buy him anything.  Funny how that will all work out for us.  We spend our entire lives accumulating something that has no value or impact once we die.  It doesn’t get us into heaven, nor does it matter in any way.  But we spend tens of thousands of hours trying to collect it and build a pile of money.  For what reason?  What is the point?  Jesus points out the reality to the rich man: “Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish”.  How we live matters.  It is a big deal.  There is a “great chasm” between those who have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and are in heaven, and those who live focused completely on self and their own little world and spend eternity separated from God.  This is not a small deal.  It is everything.  The rich man pleads with Abraham to send someone to his house to “warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment” but is it too late.  We need to stop and take stock of where we are.  Are we focused on building a fortune and missing the real goal – which is preparing for eternity with the Father?  Are we accumulating wealth on earth but missing it completely by not accumulating the relationship in heaven that will lead us to eternal life?  Where are you with Jesus?  Is He your Savior and Lord?  Have you considered the consequences of that choice?  There is no other that is even close in importance.  Don’t miss heaven because you are so focused on yourself and what you are doing that you fail to see what really matters!

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