A visual of money to highlight Jesus' teachings on trust and worldly resources.

A sermon showing lessons from Jesus on trust and wealth.


Last week I read about a very wealthy businessman. He was a landowner who rented his estates to other merchants, to do business on his land. Payment was made at the end of a season on the produce and earnings they made from the estate.

This owner had an Operations Manager who possibly had been given comfortable accommodation too. After a while however, this manager began mismanaging the owner’s estate and money began to leak out, possibly because of wastage. So, at one point, the boss got to know that this was happening, and he called the manager up and said, “You know, you better give a report on your management because what’s happening is not good”. He was also probably given marching orders to step down from his job.

This manager was not skilled to do any other work, not skillful in other areas. So he came up with a plan to survive. You know survival is a very vital part of life and so he began to look for new business contacts. What he did was, he called up the debtors of the estate owner. In particular, he called an oil merchant and a wheat merchant, and he told them to meet him quickly.

When they met, he took their invoices and adjusted the invoices. Now, I’m not exactly sure how he did that. He probably had the authority to do it, or maybe it was just plain cheating. He then created a profitable payback plan for these merchants which I will show in a little while.

When the owner got to hear about this man’s scheming, I cannot believe that he was happy. He was nevertheless impressed by what this man had done for his survival, by his cunning. It’s not clear whether he got his job back as a result, but the story that I just told you was not taken off a leading business magazine. It was not taken off an economics magazine. Not off a great novel. It was taken off the best seller in the whole world. The story was actually told by a master storyteller we all know. It was taken from the Bible and proclaimed by the Lord Jesus Christ!

Now right at the beginning, let me mention that Jesus never commended this man for what he did. No. It was a story He used to get some vital truths across. In fact, wherever the story has been published (in different translations and commentaries of the Bible), this manager has been called  dishonest, unjust, unrighteous, shrewd, and unfaithful. So to look at this story as told by Jesus Himself, let’s turn to the Gospel of Luke chapter 16.

When we look at that chapter, you will notice it is preceded by a very famous story, another parable. Which one is that? It’s the parable of the prodigal son and when you read the parable of the prodigal son, you find that it was a story where an inheritance was wasted by the prodigal son. 

When you look at what’s there soon after the story that we just read, what is the next story that is found? It is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus which is a story of wasted opportunity on the part of the rich man. So the preceding story was about a wasted inheritance and the story that follows is about wasted opportunity. Right in the middle is the parable of this manager who wasted his owner’s estate!

Right now, let’s look at the math a little as it comes up on the screen. You will notice there are four columns. They show:

a) the amount owed

b) the value 

c) the reduction percentage given, and 

d) the discount received

So let’s look now at the figures of the oil merchant. He owed 800 gallons of possibly olive oil. The value of that according to the IVP Bible Commentary was roughly 1000 denarii during that time. The reduction given by this unscrupulous manager was 50 percent, which meant that the merchant got a discount of 500 denarii. A denarii in that time was one day’s wage for labor, so you can imagine that this was a quite a substantial amount that was discounted.

Let’s now look at the wheat merchant. He owed 1000 bushels of wheat. The value has been estimated by commentators as 2500 denarii. The reduction given was 20 percent which meant that he got a discount of 500 denarii as well. So if you look at both discounts, both merchants got a similar discount.

Now there are many explanations given as to this man’s actions. Some have tried to show that he didn’t do anything really wrong. Some have said that it was probably like a company’s CSR projects or social projects, that brings goodwill to the company and helps people at the same time. Some have said that it may have been his commission. But whatever it may be, he’s clearly identified as a dishonest man. There was dishonesty involved.

 So with that in mind, let’s look at Luke chapter 16 and verse 13. Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” That is a scripture that Jesus gave soon after He told the story and in fact, there are five lessons He gave which I’ll share with you today.

But before I go to lesson number 1, just a little quote that somebody mentioned in a book I read. It says, “The manager is a beacon to be avoided, not a role model to be emulated”. So young people, as you look at your future, please make sure that your mentors are not like this manager. That they are honest people and people of integrity. 

Let’s now look at point number 1. Can we read Luke 16:9. It says, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” If I may summarize that, in a sense what Jesus is saying here is that we should – point number 1,

1. Use worldly resources for higher purposes

We will have worldly resources since we are living in this world. Thank God for the resources that He gives you but use your worldly resources as far as possible to make friendships, and for eternal purposes. Use what God has blessed you with – and I’m not talking only of money here – I’m talking of any resource that God has placed in you.

Many of you are highly skilled in certain ways. Some may be highly educated, some have talents, some of you have great business acumen, others are great teachers. Maybe you can speak well. Use what God has given you to make friends that you can move and help to find eternal blessings.

Use your giftings, use your homes, use your talents, use whatever God has given you to bring glory to His name and to make friends for eternity. Not to make friends by bribing or corruption, but to make friends for eternity. That will be a blessing to them. And they will welcome you one day, and the Lord will welcome you one day, when you enter your eternal calling.

Luke 16:11 says, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” Yes, if you are trustworthy with what God blesses you, including your wealth, He will trust you with true riches, which are spiritual riches and eternal riches. That’s what we are going to take with us when we leave this earth one day. So always look at how God can help you use your worldly resources, even your time, for His glory.


I was reading about a very popular Christian singer called Kathy Troccoli and she’s been very popular in Christian music. She was not a God-fearing lady but when she once found a temporary job during the summer break, she soon found that her colleague at work was constantly reading her Bible during the lunch break. And Kathy was wondering why somebody would use their lunch break to read the Bible. So she asked her colleague about it and that led to a process by which eventually, the colleague was able to lead Kathy to salvation. 

Use whatever God has given you. It may be that you are a writer, it may be that you’re a speaker, it may be that you’re a singer, whatever it may be, use it for eternal purposes. In this age of migration, where there’s a lot of migration happening from our country and from other countries, where people are moving in large numbers – can we say, “Lord, use me to help people to migrate to heaven”. One day they will see Christ through us and they’ll be able to receive the eternal blessings that God has prepared for those who put their trust in Him. 

Let’s move to point number 2 now.

2. Be trustworthy with little things

Let’s look at Luke chapter 16 and verse 10. It says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” So, Jesus is saying, “If you can be trusted with a little, you can also be trusted with much. But if you are dishonest with little, you will also be dishonest with much”.

You know the little things make a big difference. Little things can change situations. I want you to search your hearts this morning. What little things in your life may be a hindrance to what God wants to do through your life? What little things have affected your marriage? What little words that were spoken have affected your marriage? 

Elvis Presley once sang, “Little things I should have said and done, I never took the time. But you were always on my mind”. How sad. “Little things I should have said and done I never took the time”. The little things are so important. Nobody became an alcoholic by first drinking a full bottle of liquor. Nobody became a drug addict overnight. Nobody got into pornography overnight. It started with a little thing. Sometimes a crime is solved by a little clue. Lust is built through little things. The little things in life can be very, very dangerous unless we handle them right. 

On the other hand, the little things we do to bless others can also be such a blessing. It can lead to amazing things happening. It can also lead to you being blessed back in return. One thing I have always found is that whenever we bless someone, we are always blessed back in return!


I was reading a story in a Chicken Soup book about a gentleman by the name of Thomas de Paoli. He was on his way to make an oral presentation for his dissertation for a PhD. One of the flights was delayed and he was going to another city. So he was rushing to get to the gate in time to get his boarding pass when he noticed another middle-aged lady struggling with her luggage to get to the gate. And he called out to her and mentioned the airline that he was connecting to. He asked whether she was on the same airline, and she said “Yes”. 

So he quickly ran to her and offered to take her bag to the gate and tell them to wait for her.  That’s exactly what he did. He went to the gate and checked in and told them about the lady. She eventually came in and was the last passenger to check in. A simple act of kindness. 

The following day this gentleman went for his oral examination for his PhD. He was so anxious because as he entered the room, all the professors were there in their robes. As he peered over the room however, he recognized in the middle of the group, the same lady he had helped at the airport. She smiled at him, and although she didn’t do him any special favors, he said that whenever he got stuck in his answers, she kind of gave a nudge to help him with his presentation that day.

Who knows what God can do with the little things that we give into His precious hand? In the Song of Solomon 2:15 it says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin The vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”

I’m going to put up a visual right now. You can see a fox in the visual, a little fox, and that’s the vineyard. Now I read an interesting thing about this by a pastor by the name of Mark Winslett. He said that since the foxes are small, they cannot reach the grapes on the vine at times. So, you know what they do? They start biting the vine, gnawing off, and biting on the vine. As they keep biting, the vine gets weakened and after a while, either the vine breaks and the fruit falls, or because of the weight applied, some of the fruit falls down. 

The sad thing is that the fruit falling is not the problem because the fruit always grows back. But it takes years to replace that vine, for it to mature again. Little things are so important!

James chapter 3 and verse 5 says, “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” We know in our country, and it’s very common in some other countries, that a little spark can set ablaze a whole forest. It’s the same with the little thing called our tongue. We shoot it out too often. We speak out without thinking. Sometimes we say things that hurt people, or we say things that make us look foolish. Think of the little things we should have said and done.

Point number 3 – Jesus says in Luke 16:12. “And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”

Basically, what that is saying is, 

3. Be trustworthy with another’s property 

That scripture is telling us that we need to be trustworthy when we deal with other’s people. The promises we make to people, how we handle their possessions, and if we take something, to return it, and to treat what belongs to someone else with respect.

I know that in this congregation there are people who actually have been defrauded by others. I know you have carried that severe pain with you. God will give you grace for that, but may we always be trustworthy with other’s things. In our relationships may we be trustworthy in the words we speak, and in the things we do. 

I’ll move on now to point number 4. But first, let me repeat the first 3 points.

Point 1 – Use worldly resources for eternal purposes.

Point 2 – Be trustworthy with little things.

Point 3 – Be trustworthy with other’s property.

4. Don’t ever dilute your love for God because of money

I know this is not easy to say. This may be hard to receive. But the whole world system runs on money and that has to be accepted and understood. But my question to you is, “Will you choose true lasting riches that last for all eternity over unstable riches that will be lost one day?”

Money always changes hands. What you have in your purse today will be spent somewhere in the next couple of days. But the things of God, eternal riches, endure forever. Let’s look at Matthew chapter 6 and verse 33. It’s a verse that many of you know well. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Yes, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Always make that a priority and everything else needed will be added into your life. 

We know that money controls the entire systems of the world. It gives power, it gives prestige, it gives control, and sometimes we can get tempted to crave for more and lower our standards as a result. May we never ever get into that place.

Jesus had a specific point here. Some people believe that He was telling a story that had actually happened through this parable. We are not sure about that but He was certainly specifying certain groups of people, because look at what verse 14 says in that same chapter.  “The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.”  The Pharisees were there, and it says they loved money, and they were obviously finding fault with Jesus.

There’s a quote that says, “Often, when a person’s bank account increases, his soul shrivels”. That doesn’t necessarily happen to everyone, but it does happen often.

When I decided to come into full-time Christian ministry after leaving my job in 1985, my parents were overseas. So, I had to wait for them to come back to tell them that I was going into Christian ministry. When they came back home eventually, we spoke till about one o’clock in the morning as they were sharing all their experiences in England. Then they asked me, “Well, what about you? What’s been happening?” 

So, I then had to tell them about my decision. I thought they would be shocked and maybe scold me for the decision I had taken. But surprisingly, they took it very well, and then they asked me one question. That’s the only real question they asked me. They asked me, “How are you going to manage?”, which meant, “How are you going to sustain yourself?” I told them that my trust will be in God’s provision alone.

Well, here I am, decades later, to tell you that after I answered that call, God has provided for me and my family in every way that we needed. Now, we don’t have any luxuries, we don’t have a lot to call our own, but God has provided for me, my wife Regina, and my two children, everything that we have needed! Yes, God has provided, so don’t tell me that when you trust God, when you love God above everything else, that He doesn’t take care of us. He surely takes care of His children, of those who put their trust in Him. They will lack nothing.

Remember the words of Jesus in verse 13 – “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” 

To download a sermon on loving God first, click here.

Finally, let’s move to point number 5.

5. Always stay focused on eternal perspectives 

This life is roughly for 70 years, maybe 80 years. As I keep getting older, I’m beginning to feel the cracks and the discomforts. The hair is getting whiter and before too long I may be totally white on my head. I’m not believing for any bad things by the way, I’m trusting God to give me a good life. But you know, we get older, and then one day we are going to leave this earth. People are however fighting daily to somehow manage to stay alive on this earth. 

Now please, do your work and build your career. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things. But keep your focus always on the things of eternity because that’s what really matters above everything else. 

Colossians chapter 3 verses 1-2 says, “Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds therefore on things above, not on earthly things”. Above the earthly should always be the heavenly. Keep that focus always. 

My final verse today is Matthew chapter 6 verses 20-21 which says, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Jesus was saying that the people of the world are very shrewd in dealing with their own people (verse 8). How much more should we be about eternal things? Not day to day things, but eternal things. Living in such a way that we are always focused on eternal perspectives. If you are wealthy, thank God for that. If you have got some fame, thank God for that. If you have got some popularity, be thankful for that. If you have some authority in what you do, then be thankful. But be careful to stay focused always on eternal perspectives.

Somebody said, “It is impossible to have a real hope of heaven and be deeply engrossed in the pleasures of this earth”. 


There’s a story about a very famous rabbi who lived some time ago whose name was Rabbi Chofetz Chaim. He was a very educated rabbi whose teachings were followed by a lot of people. In fact, it is said that many students would travel to see him from many parts of the world just to sit at his feet and learn from him. A very popular, very famous rabbi.

One day a tourist requested an invitation to come to his home. The rabbi invited him over and the tourist came to the home. When he arrived, he was quite surprised by what he saw, because the rabbi’s house was very small and there was very little furniture in the house. So, he asked the rabbi, “Rabbi, where is all your furniture? What’s happened to all your furniture?” The rabbi answered him and asked, “Where is yours?”

The young tourist replied, “Mine, what are you asking me? I’m not from this country. I don’t live here. I’m from another country. I’m just a tourist visiting here”. The rabbi then very wisely said, “So am I. I’m also visiting. This is only my temporary home on this earth”. His mind was on his eternal home!

Let’s go back to the manager in the story. 

He handled the little things badly.

He handled other people’s property badly. 

He was not interested in his eternal welfare or in eternal purposes. 

And he diluted his love for God by being dishonest. 

Could we be focused today on eternal perspectives?

I know what I have shared has a little to do with money but I’m not going to focus on money in closing. I want to focus on eternity and on what our eternal values should be. When was the last time you thought about heaven? When was the last time you thought about the day when you will enter the presence of God in eternity?

Let’s bow our hearts in prayer and I pray that we will allow God to help us to walk this journey. It’s not an easy journey. We are all struggling, but we are here to help one another to move forward.

Lord our Heavenly Father, I pray today that even as we thank you for all the resources you have blessed us with, that we will use those resources Lord, our giftings, our talents, our skills, our homes, our money, to bless people for eternity. Whether we be teachers, doctors, lawyers, preachers, businessmen, whatever, help us to use everything that you have invested in us for eternal purposes. 

Lord, help us in even the little things, that you can trust us to do the best we can, and also help us to be careful with the little things that can mess up our walk with you. At the same time, the little things we do in love can be the catalyst for great things in the days ahead. 

God, help us to be trustworthy with other’s property and to treat others with respect. I pray for those who may have had to walk through being defrauded, that you will comfort them and provide for whatever they have been defrauded of, for you are a God of justice. 

O Lord may our love for you always be strong and never diluted by the things of this world. May we never be enslaved by money or the things of this world but may our love for you always rise above that. That you will always be our first love. And help us to always stay focused on eternal perspectives. Thank you for all the blessings you have given us, but may those blessings never draw us away from our eternal call, O God.

Lord, I pray your blessing upon everyone in this congregation today. I thank you that they have taken the time to come and be in your presence. Bless them as they leave today. Bless them in the week ahead, bless their homes, bless their families, bless their children, and bless their ministry, because everything we do, as the Bible says, should be for your glory. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen!

For a sermon on selfless giving click here.

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