Friday, February 23, 2007

(Last) Post #10: The Second thing we learn: Make Friends.

Last post!

SCROLL DOWN and read all the posts leading up to this one. But make sure you read the TEXT.

And the other thing you learn? What are you to do?

The final thing to learn is this: Make Friends.

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.
Make friends with whatever you have to secure more ‘welcoming’, more 'embracing' in eternal homes.

The difficulty is the word ‘dishonest’. But I think his point is this: Dishonest Wealth is a way of talking about worldly wealth. It is compared to True Wealth in V11. True Wealth is riches that last forever. Where as the Worldly Wealth, will not be a part of the redemption of the world.

What do we mean by that?

Take this $20 (holds up $20)– Who knows where it’s been? The chances are very high that it has been in a world of deep rebellion and sin; that it has been involved in dishonesty. It is 'filthy lucre.' A cabbie gave this $20 to me last night. Who had it before him? I don’t know. The Mafia? Who knows? Its possible. Not probable, but possible. But who knows where it has been and what it has been used for.

But Jesus says -- use it. And everything else you have to "make friends now".

See, what could I do with this $20?

I could contribute to the budget of this church. That would be stunning as we establish churches in order to touch and transform lives. And this kind of support is commanded in scripture. You would free the council up to make choices for evangelism. Wouldn’t it be great to meet, in 'eternal dwellings', with the thousands and thousands of people who know Jesus because this church honored Christ for the next two hundred years, or two thousand years (should the Lord tarry)? Who will know Jesus, and embrace you in the age to come, because this church was planted 4 years ago, and you gave this Mafia-owned $20 to its cause? Good question.

I could take out to dinner my friend – I call him John for the sake of anonymity. John doesn’t believe. But I could use this previously Mafia-owned $20 and I invite him out. I wouldn't get a lot in Manhattan. Maybe breakfast. That’s good right? It establishes a relationship of generosity. Wouldn’t it be great to see John welcome me into heaven for my 'dishonest' $20?

I could give it to a world mission. I am astounded if you stack 10 of these $20 notes, you get $200 that could put a kid through private school in Tanzania for a year. Christ Church NYC are involved in giving scholarships to kids in the Diocese of Central Tanganyika in Africa. You might say – 'that’s a worthwhile investment, even if we never meet the kids that benefit'. But then you've missed the point: you will meet those kids at the redemption of the world.

So – will this $20 'pay off'? Maybe. It's a risk. But everything you do with your money is a risk. I presume in the economy of God, a kid who knows Jesus is worth that risk.

Imagine what you could, then, with $200? Or $2000? Or $2,000,000? OR $20,000,000.

There is more to be said about the complexity of this, but the principle stands:
And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that
when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.
Here endeth the lesson!

Thanks for you help, friends.

Any comments welcome.

7 comments:

kat from ivcf @NYU said...

hey justin!
thank you for telling me about your sermon. although i didn't know some of the references you made to movies, thank you for making sense of that parable for me! take care!

Benjamin Ady said...

Only very briefly touched down here and there in your series. I intend to read completely later. It's fascinating. Also you reminded me a couple times of chapter 1 from Jim Henderson's new book "Jim and Caspar Go to Church", which I've also only looked at briefly. Jim hired Caspar, and atheist, to go to churches with him and share his reactions, and they wrote a book about it.

dave williams said...

An excellent sermon -thanks

Eric said...

Wow, I miss a lot when I'm away! Thanks for all this. I look forward to hearing more in our home fellowship group!

Steve Ko said...

Hey Justin! Pretty Interesting stuff.

I read your post on the emerging guys mclaren/bell/driscoll. I agree with you! None of my christian peers wanna chat about the puritans or Luther's writings. Maybe i'm just a geek.

I'm a pretty hardcore fan of edwards.yale.edu.

alix said...

hey justin! i replied to your comment on my blog re witherington/bell(http://winningcanada.blogspot.com/2007/02/this-this-and-this.html).

Philip Britton said...

Justin.
i was put onto these posts by Jason Ramsay.
preparing a bible study on this passage.
Cheers for the input.