“And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than the children of the light…… If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in larger ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?” Luke 16:8, 10-12
Does it not strike you, the order of things in these verses? After commenting on the children of the world being ‘more shrewd’ than the children of the light, the verses that follow summarise how we, the children of the light should live. I know you will find it different from what you encounter in the world today.
Before going into a little more detail, notice what the verse considers important. The ‘true riches of heaven’ are above and of greater value than ‘worldly wealth’. Being trustworthy with ‘worldly wealth’ is a reflection of the fruit we produce in this world but our hearts lie in the true riches to come. We long to be trusted with the ‘true riches of heaven.’ This means we, as ‘children of the light’, should live in a manner that always pleases Him who is the real wealth of heaven and in a manner that reflects this to the rest of the world. These verses above give us a glimpse of exactly this.
So, how are we to live as ‘children of light’? These verses talk about living in faithfulness and honesty. We already know this is governed by God from above, as He is the true wealth of heaven. However, in the affairs of the world we see some guidelines. A start is that faithfulness and honesty have to be part of your whole life. We can’t be faithful in one thing and neglect another or be honest in some things but not others. The world seems to think that living by only a handful of principles and neglecting others is a good way to live. This is not being faithful and honest. Let’s look at a few examples.
Perhaps you are a high powered businessman, you are faithful and work hard for your employer, keep the business in order and always deal honestly with any money you handle. But being a businessman means hard decisions have to be made and so some people along the way get squashed and eliminated to make things better for you. In other words, some of your dealings with clients, or other people in your industry are dealt with in an unfaithful manner to further your business. I am not saying all businessman do this, but as an example, although you are faithful in some things, this dishonesty means that faithfulness and honesty are not part of your whole life.
Compare it to Scripture where it says, ‘For the person who keeps all the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.’ We can’t live a life of faithfulness and honesty unless it is our complete culture of living. Let’s use another example from a typical Hollywood movie. You often watch a mob or gang movie where everything is family. They do all they can to look after their family and this would be good if they didn’t rob and steal from everyone else that is not part of that family. Again, you can’t be faithful and honest in one area and completely neglect another area of your life. Faithfulness and honesty has to be the way you live completely; it has to be a culture engrained in everything you do.
Being faithful and honest starts with the little things. Just as being trustworthy with ‘worldly wealth’ proves you can be trusted with the ‘true riches of heaven’, so too, you start by being faithful and honest with small things. That is how you build a culture of faithfulness and honesty in your life. You start there, let it grow and then see your whole life begin to show real fruit. We know we are incapable of ever doing this on our own but we also know that we have a good God, a patient and merciful God, and a God who will guide and lead us to become Godly men and women. Remember, we are not faithful and honest because we want praise from the world. No, we are faithful and honest because we live to please our Father, we live as ‘children of light’ and that light is Christ.
Notice another important fact we tend to miss. We cannot be trusted with things of our own before we learn to be faithful with other people’s things. Yes, many have been blessed with things of their own already but how we treat what other people own is important. Why does this matter? Don’t you realise that what we do to others will still reflect whether or not we are faithful and honest. We children reflect a light, a name far above any other in this world and the heavenly realm. How can we witness that light if we fail to be faithful with other people’s things?
What area in your life today needs to be changed? Where are you being unfaithful and dishonest? We can be sure that everyone of us needs to search out these areas in our lives, and start to let God change them so that we can give witness to the true wealth of heaven, Jesus Christ.