Devotional Thoughts for Today
Lk. 16:8-9 (NIV): For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.  I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
1 Sam. 25:11 (NIV): Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? . . .  Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”
2 Sam. 17:27-8 (ESV): When David came to Mahanaim,. . . Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim,  brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans and lentils,  honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat, for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.
A very successful professional, who also owns many properties, initially agreed to the idea that his wealth ought to be used for God’s work. But he balked at the suggestion that he sponsor a needy child abroad: a monthly support of $38 was too expensive.
Nabal from the OT era, described as “very wealthy” for owning 1,000 goats and 3,000 sheep, and this 21st century man have this in common: Not using worldly wealth to gain friends for themselves. During the days when David and his men roamed around to escape from the murderous pursuit of King Saul, they, in effect, protected Nabal’s sheep that were grazing out on the field. In fact, Nabal’s servants told their boss, “These men were very good to us” (1 Sam. 25:15). So, when the festive time of sheep-shearing came, David asked Nabal to share “whatever [he] can find for them” (8). Nabal didn’t gain any friend when he responded, “Why should I take my bread . . . and give it to men coming from who knows where?” (11). David, responding to Nabal’s foolishness with his own imprudence, sought to kill him! Fortunately, though the intervention of Nabal’s wife, Abigail, kept that from happening, Nabal soon died of heart failure upon being told later about David’s plot.
Then there is Barzillai, “a very old man” who is also described as “very wealthy” (2 Sam. 19:31-2). By this time, David was the king—now being chased by his son Absalom who sought to kill him. Barzillai, when told of David’s dire predicament (“hungry and weary and thirsty”), “provided for the king during his stay in Mahanaim” (32). Once restored to the throne, David didn’t forget Barzillai’s act of kindness, saying to him, “Stay with me in Jerusalem, and I will provide for you” (33).
Like Barzillai, let’s use our worldly wealth to help someone in need in Jesus’ name, so that when we arrive in heaven, that person will join God in welcoming us, saying to the Lord, “That’s the person who helped me to experience Your love.” Do something generous with your worldly wealth today.
Dear Lord, I exalt your name on high, especially because of the many blessings given to me. Forgive me for hoarding it instead of sharing it. O God, help me to be prudent with what You have given me in light of eternity. Help me to let go so that I may gain friends in anticipation of joining You in heaven.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 46
Lunch Break Study
Read Lk. 12:13-21 (NASB): Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”  But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?”  Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”  And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive.  And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’  Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’  So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
1 Tim. 6:7-8 (NIV): For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
Question to Consider
- Why was this parable told at this place?
- What makes the life of this rich man so foolish?
- What insight would have helped his man to have lived more wisely? How should this change the way you invest toward your future?
- The man in the crowd was solely preoccupied with gaining his rightful share of his father’s inheritance. He didn’t really care its affect on his family; in other words, for the sake of money, he was about to discard the more important things in life.
- The rich man is a fool because he never got to enjoy what he had stored in his big barn; instead, someone else was going to enjoy it. In the meantime, assuming that he was a believer, since he didn’t invest any of his wealth toward his eternity, he won’t have any “dividends” waiting for him in heaven.
- What Paul wrote was first said by Job: “Naked I came from mother’s womb, and naked I will depart” (Job 1:20). We must distinguish our needs from our wants: once we make our wants as something we need, then, we’re likely to act like this “someone in the crowd” represented by the rich fool.
Review all the purchases you have made today: What does that say about the values you uphold? Does it indicate that you are trying to make friends using your worldly wealth? Reflect on this issue; begin making some changes in how you use the money that God has given you.