“Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19 NLT).
We can illustrate the concept behind “storing up treasure… as a good foundation for the future” (ESV) with a thought-provoking parable from Luke 16:1-9…
“Jesus also said to the disciples, ‘A certain rich man heard that his household manager was wasting his estate. He called the manager in and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give me a report of your administration because you can no longer serve as my manager.’
The household manager said to himself, What will I do now that my master is firing me as his manager? I’m not strong enough to dig and too proud to beg. I know what I’ll do so that, when I am removed from my management position, people will welcome me into their houses.
One by one, the manager sent for each person who owed his master money. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil.’ The manager said to him, ‘Take your contract, sit down quickly, and write four hundred fifty gallons.’ Then the manager said to another, ‘How much do you owe?’ He said, ‘One thousand bushels of wheat.’ He said, ‘Take your contract and write eight hundred.’
The master commended the dishonest manager because he acted cleverly. People who belong to this world are more clever in dealing with their peers than are people who belong to the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to make friends for yourselves so that when it’s gone, you will be welcomed into the eternal homes” (CEB).
While it may be difficult to understand why this manager was commended, there is an underlying spiritual truth behind this passage. You see, this parable features an administrator who made use of the resources that were available to him to prepare for the future. While the master was undoubtedly displeased to learn that his steward had disposed of his assets in this manner, he still recognized (and praised) his shrewd foresight.
In a similar manner, those who honor God and use their financial assets to “do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share” (CSB) will also be “…invested in the life to come so that they may be sure of holding a share in the life which is permanent” (Philips).