“Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’” (Luke 16:14-15 NKJV)
There’s a lot of teaching in this passage from Luke that’s hard to understand. Why would Jesus commend the steward who was wasting his master’s goods? How do you make friends using “unrighteous mammon” who can receive you into a heavenly home? If mammon ain’t true riches, what is? The Pharisees caught the gist of the teaching, though, and, because money was one of their measures for success in life, they ridiculed Jesus. Jesus threw it right back in their faces when He let them know that the very thing they used to justify themselves before men, were an abomination in the sight of God. That thing, of course, was wealth. Wealth is a blessing from God and if He would so bless the Pharisees, then of course, they were on the right track with God, or so they might argue. And we still do that today. We ask how much a person’s worth when what we mean is how much money do they have? Poor people are crazy, while rich people are “eccentric.” We’ve made money the standard by which we judge people. And that is an abomination to God. God looks for a contrite heart. He looks for the qualities of justice and mercy that He Himself shows. Let’s not forget that the riches we esteem so greatly here on earth are nothing but paving and building material in heaven.
One of the reminders of the day comes from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said that he longs for the day when men shall be judged by the content of their character. As you deal with people, whether at work or in whatever activities you may engage in on this holiday, remember that God judges not by the size of your bank account, but by the content of your character. Look past the wealth, or lack of it, of the people you deal with and show God’s love to everyone.
Lord, look at my heart. Take out anything that doesn’t please You. Build Your character in me and teach me to show others the same love and mercy that you showed me.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.