Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

In Other Words. . . Use Money to Make Friends!

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 02 December 2008

"Remember this December that love weighs more than gold!"
~ Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

Several weeks ago I came across a little book by C. S. Lewis called, A Grief Observed.

It’s a diary that he kept for the years ago following his wife’s death, in which he jotted down his thoughts and reactions to the world around him during the grief and pain of those days.

The writing is brilliant -- and if you’re a C.S. Lewis fan, you’d appreciate his sparkling style. . . . But the atmosphere of this diary is somber and sad -- there is remarkably little faith in it at all until the very end of the book.

Among the doubts that came flooding into Lewis' mind as he lived through the weary, dull days that followed his wife's death was the idea that there is no real hope of seeing our loved ones again. (You have to remember that he wrote this particular book under a dark cloud of grief and a very heavy heart. This explains much of the darkness and bitterness.) But, he suggests that the idea of a family reunion on the other shore is unscriptural and thoroughly illogical.

There are very few occasions when I would venture to differ with C. S. Lewis, but this is one.

You must do some searching of Scripture, but there are a few passages that lead (me anyway) toward thinking there is a spiritual tie -- a connection between earth and eternity.

“The Parable of the Dishonest Steward” in Luke 16:1-13 is, in many ways, the most unusual parable Jesus ever told. It comes right out of the self-seeking and ruthless business practices we see on Wall Street today -- and it truly reveals how thoroughly Jesus was in touch with life at it’s very greediest, ugliest, worst.

It is the story of a man who was entrusted with the use of another man's money, a familiar account of dubious speculations, padded expense accounts, lavish entertainment, and juggled bank accounts, until the day of reckoning. When the wasted expenditure of this steward came to light he was summarily ordered to turn over his books and to collect his last check. He is then faced with the sudden loss of what he had long been taking for granted, and is forced to think soberly and seriously of the future. Jesus, of course, makes His observations and some surprising truths about the use of money unfold:

“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 16:9

Jesus tells us specifically that the friends that are made on earth in this lifetime by means of worldly money (other versions use the terminology, mammon of unrighteousness) can be there to welcome us into eternity. Surely He means that close spiritual ties, made here in this life, survive death, and such loved ones will be there to welcome us in Heaven.

Jesus never says -- nor does He imply -- that money is wicked. Scripture never says that money is the root of all evil, as it is sometimes quoted as saying. It is the love of money which is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). When Jesus speaks of unrighteous mammon, he means that money is neither righteous nor wicked --it is neither moral nor immoral. It is -- in fact -- an instrument either for good or evil, depending on how it is used.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,

"Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven"
~Matthew 6:20

How specifically do we do that?

Use your money in such a way that you are winning others, not only to Christ, but to yourself, for you never win anyone to Christ without winning him, in some degree, to yourself. Ever hear of "Friendship Evangelism?"

By means of hospitality, or in giving to some missionary venture, or by investing a sum to help someone in a time of need, money may be used for eternal good. It is not enough to pray for unsaved family and friends -- we must pay for them too if we are going to win them and have them meet us in Heaven!

Ray Stedman asked in a sermon once, “Is there anything that we can carry across with us to the other side? Is there any link at all between this life and that life yonder?”

And then he answers himself: “Yes, says Jesus, there is one thing you can take with you -- friends! Meaningful personal relationships, ties of spiritual life-sharing, family ties in Christ, all these survive death. . . . If you are wise, you will use your money to make friends."

The purpose of money -- whether we have a little or a lot -- should be to use it in the uncertain present (and what's more uncertain than the economy of the present?) in order to enrich the future. And we're talking Eternity here -- not Retirement. If what money we have is used for anything else, it is a total waste.

"Remember this December that eternal life is what really matters. Use your money -- spend your money -- give your money. . . . But contemplate and scrutinize it's use - because love (i.e. GOD's Eternal Love) weighs more than gold . . . "

~ Esthermay Bentley-Goossen
© 2008 The Heart of a Pastor's Wife
The article also submitted for publication to
Wesleyan Publishing House, Indianapolis, IN

In Other Words is hosted today by Denise at Shortybears Place.

13 comments:

Betsy Markman said...

Thank you for this perspective on what is surely one of Christ's most difficult sayings. I'm not sure I would have been able to draw anything out of this one!

MiPa said...

Lovely post. Thanks for sharing today.

Denise said...

Amen

Barbara said...

Oh absolutely. Leave it to Esthermay to bring a true Scriptural view on this topic. ;-) Very good. My husband and I have extra money this year and this passage about unrighteous mammon has helped us know better where this mpney will go. Thank you for this post. It makes things so clear, you are a great writer anf a great teacher. God bless

sara said...

Your timing on this post is great....hmmmmm. I am currently facing a critical illness of a loved one and was so encouraged today by your post! Thank you, friend.

Wanda said...

Oh such wise advice! I couldn't agree more.
I know for my family.....when we left for seminary....our church and friends gifted us financially!
WOW! Did that ever bless us.

It gave us a great cushion for starting over in a new state and took much of the financial burden off so hubby could go to school.

Bless with your money! God is pleased when we do.

kalopoieo said...

C.S. Lewis fan here. Every good writer has a "Book of Ecclesiastes." This one's a classic.

Everything you write is true to scripture and there for us to know if we just read it. Great topic for this time of year. Much to consider. AMEN. Another great post.

Laurie Ann said...

Excellent post, Esthermay! I loved your explaining Christ's perspective on this issue. It's a hard one for so many to grasp.

Denise said...

Please come link up, mister linky is finally working.

Kate said...

I love how you use photos in your posts. Very neat. :-) And what a wonderful way to illustrate friendship evangelism. I like what you said about winning people over to US before we can win them over to CHRIST. How true. And spending money at Christmas is one way to do it, but with contemplating and scrutinizing like you say. Wonderful lesson here. Thank you.

Luke said...

Well said.

And, yes, I'm a huge C.S. Lewis fan as well, but I feel safe differing from him from time to time [smile].

~Luke

samantha said...

Wounderful perspective. This is very wise advice.

CindyC said...

Very well said!

A verse that goes along with exactly what you are saying is from Proverbs (either chapter 10 or 11, I don't remember right now) that says:
"The income of the righteous brings life."

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