I don’t travel that often, but when I do I try and stick with one airline, mainly because I want to build up my miles and save them up for the future. In one way you can say I like to get some return some rewards from the trips that I take so I can reward myself in the future. Another way I try and reward myself is I have the airline’s credit card which also builds up points every time I make a purchase on that card. I’m early on in the rewards process, but hopefully after a few years I can build up some points and have enough for a free flight. Other credit cards, hotels, rental car places, and many other things have rewards type programs, and if you are a loyal customer you will have some reward for what you spend at their place. In our culture we are all about getting good rewards, good deals, getting as many savings as we can. Simply put we like to be rewarded in this life.
Jesus gives us the parable of the dishonest steward, and he was a man who dishonestly rewarded himself from his master’s wealth and property. The master found out what he was doing and fired him. But his dishonest ways didn’t stop after he was fired. He went to those who owed the master money and reduced their note. Using his master’s money to make other friends who he could then go to in the future. Again the master finds out and instead of punishing him for the fraud he committed, actually commended him for the prudent way he was acting. Then Jesus leaves us with this interesting phrase. “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest, wealth so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”
Does Jesus want us to steal and use fraud as the steward did in the parable? No certainly not but I believe Jesus is trying to teach us an important lesson in the parable. We are all given things from God, and we must use these things in prudent ways, to use them to obtain eternal rewards so that when the earthly fails, we will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The simple truth is that the things we possess here on earth are not forever; all of them will decay in some way. Secondly one day we will leave those possessions behind and go before the judgment seat of God. What Jesus is urging us to do is to use the possessions that we do have for good and eternal dwellings?
So what does that look like in our lives and how do we store up for ourselves treasures in heaven. First of all, we can look towards the first reading in the psalm. God deeply cares for the poor and the needy. The prophet Amos gives a warning from God what will happen to those who trample on the poor of the land. He says he will never forget what they did. At the same time God looks to lift the lowly and the poor. The psalm praises the Lord who lifts the poor.
One way we can store up treasures in heaven or make friends with dishonest wealth is by giving up the possessions that we have and give them to the poor and the needy. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a monetary gift, even working hard for the poor and doing charitable work with our hands will store up treasure in heaven.
I believe the simple message of this parable is that Jesus is encouraging his follows to give alms. God wants to give us the true wealth that is eternal but to do that we must use dishonest wealth in a prudent and trustworthy manner.
Another danger that we can have in our lives is that we can become too attached to our possessions. I know I’m guilty of it as well. When the new apple phone gets released I get all excited for it, and I know there are some things that I couldn’t live without. However God is challenging us to see our possessions as a gift from him as something that will not be with us forever and something that will eventually fail.
Again we should set our hearts on the thing of heaven, not on the things of earth. We should ask ourselves are we generous with the things that we own? Do we donate to charity? Do we do charitable work? The alms that we give do more for us than we may realize.
Finally we are encouraged to seek after true wealth in our life. What is that true wealth? Simply put it is the sacraments and especially those sacraments we can receive regularly. I may sound like a broken record at times, but I can’t say it enough, if we haven’t been to confession in a while don’t be afraid to go. Secondly, come to partake in the Eucharist as much as you can.
The Dishonest steward used the possessions of his master dishonestly and was punished for what he did. However, he used the master’s wealth to get ahead in his life after being fired. The possessions we have in this life will not last forever, and ultimately we will leave them behind in this life when we go before our God. May we use our possessions in a way that builds up rewards in heaven.