This post is for Christians, others please bear with me
Alright! Let me start with a story narrated by Jesus. Read more.
There was once a rich man who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running up huge personal expenses. So he called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? You’re fired. And I want a complete audit of your books.’
The manager said to himself, ‘What am I going to do? I’ve lost my job as manager. I’m not strong enough for a laboring job, and I’m too proud to beg. . . . Ah, I’ve got a plan. Here’s what I’ll do . . . then when I’m turned out into the street, people will take me into their houses.’
Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’
The manager said, ‘Here, take your bill, sit down here—quick now—write fifty.’
To the next he said, ‘And you, what do you owe?’
He answered, ‘A hundred sacks of wheat.’
He said, ‘Take your bill, write in eighty.’
Then Jesus goes on to say
So, the master praised the dishonest manager for being clever. Yes, worldly people are more clever with their own kind than spiritual people are. (Luke 16: 8)
This unjust manager acted in a very shrewd manner that he did not lose his job. The moral of this story is this: the people of this world are more clever (shrewd or wise or smart) than the so-called spiritual people.
In another translation (The Message Translation), this Bible portion is much more elaborated
Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior
Jesus was not trying to put Christians down, instead He was asking us to be more smart, shrewd and wise (ofcourse for what is right), and at the same time be harmless.
That’s why Jesus said (in another portion)
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matt 10: 16
Look at the worldly people!
They use their money to enjoy life to its fullest potential.
This is the world’s motto (Luke 12: 19)
Eat, drink and be happy, tomorrow we will die. Watch films, have party and have fun, find boy friends, girl friends, explore the world, wear the best dress, marry someone pretty, have children, make money, become rich, live a luxurious life and die happily.
Yeah, they don’t care about God or the life after death. They don’t have any other purpose in life beyond the life on earth. So they enjoy this present life to the fullest without focusing on eternal life.
They have used their time, education, money and energy for making use of everything in this temporary world. Hence they are smarter in this regard, even though they are foolish to focus ONLY on this life on earth.
But how about we so-called spiritual people?
We are supposed to use everything available in this world, for the benefit of all, not only in this world, but for life after death as well.
But, what are we doing with all the things we have? How are we spending our time?
We spend our valuable time in prayer, churches, reading Bible, spiritual activities, attending prayer meeting, sacrificing many entertainments and fun for the sake of the Lord and so on. It’s good!
But, if we are honest with ourselves,
How productively we have used our money, talents, energy and resources? Or in other words, what have we produced which lasts till eternity?
Many of us would have to answer, Nothing!
What do I mean?
Look at Apostle Paul in the Bible!
What did he do with the resources he had?
He was well-educated. He used his knowledge, expertise and wisdom to interact with kings, high priest and great officials to speak about God. He used his wisdom in a creative manner (Acts 9: 15)
He was a skilled tent maker. What did he do with that? He used his skill to build tents and made money to meet his own expenses, rather than depending on poor believers. He used his talents effectively. (Acts 18: 3)
The latest means of transportation at that time was ship. What did he do with that? He sailed across the islands preaching the good news about Jesus, trying to reach the ends of the world. He organised three mission journeys! Amazing! (Acts 27)
He had good writing skills. What did he do? He spent his time effectively in such a way that he wrote more than 13 books in the Bible. There were no paper or modern pen available during those days. Plant material called papyrus and animal skin were being used. With great difficulty he used those available resources wisely. (I Tim 3: 14-16)
He had great leadership skills. What did he do with that? He trained youngsters and mentored them to become great evangelists and preachers. Best example is Timothy. (I Tim 1: 2) He went around establishing churches at various locations, and thus used his leadership skills for building the Kingdom of God. (2 Cor 11: 28)
What did Paul do with his money, energy, resources, talents and time? He used it wisely to build a strong foundation for Christianity. Even today, we use his products as great resource materials.
We are supposed to look ahead to eternal life, and live wisely in the present world.
Now let us look at our lives.
What all talents do we have? How much time we have? How much money we possess? And let us ask ourselves:
What have we produced with the resources we have?
What about Paul’s life?
Money+Energy+Education+Skill+Resources= 3 mission journeys, more than 14 churches, more than 13 epistles, trained many pastors, apostles, teachers and evangelists, reached Europe with the Gospel message, and became a role model for millions of Christians
God has blessed with unlimited internet. We can learn about anything. We can speak face to face to anyone across the globe. We can do things faster, cheaper at our own convenience.
God has blessed us with the latest transportation means! We can reach any part of the world within a short span of time.
God has blessed us with communication technologies like WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, etc. We can connect with any one in this world, create groups for good causes, encourage someone and lot more.
But the question is,
How effectively are we using all these, for the glory of God?
Jesus said, Go into all the world and preach the gospel. (Mk 16:15)
We have a great mission to accomplish. Are we effectively using all these latest technology for the glory of God?
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I Cor 10: 31
Many times we end up wasting time scrolling the Facebook timeline, WhatsApp groups, or by watching funny videos or filthy movies all the day, killing the time.
We are supposed to use these media to learn something productive, to produce something good for generations to come.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Col 4: 5
Just imagine, how Paul would have used his creativity to reach out, if these advanced facilities were available in those days!
The opportunities around us are infinitely large, but we so-called spiritual people rarely use these for the glory of God. What’s going wrong?
We lack wisdom and smartness.
We ought to learn smartness from the worldly people without compromising the Christian values
Look at the entertainment industry
How fast it is growing! TV channels, Advertisements, YouTube channels and other media are competing with other to present with the most thrilling and engaging experience for the viewers.
We are living in a sin-sick, morally degenerate, pleasure-mad world. Our society continually demands entertainment, amusements, and pastimes at an ever increasing level. The worldly people are smarter enough to produce content for this purpose
But with all the smart devices and media, what are we Christians doing?
Do we make use of the latest media technologies to produce the best spiritual content available to the millions who are seeking the truth?
Many Christians are still living in the old generation days of cathode ray tube and newspaper.
We are doing lot of things, agreed! But we are not that smart as the worldly people.
Look at the Coca-Cola company
The Coca-Cola Company began building its global network in the 1920s. Now operating in more than 200 countries and producing nearly 450 brands Source
As per Business Insider, around the world, 1.7 billion servings of Coke products are consumed every day. The average person consumes a Coke product every four days. The Coca-Cola logo is recognized by 94% of the world’s population.
Look at the advancing business and marketing strategies of the world. I’m not saying that we have to copy them, but we have to be real smarter in reaching out.
They have reached almost the entire world within a century.
How about us? Have we reached the ends of the world yet with the good news of Jesus Christ within these 20 centuries?
Look at the political campaigns
The political parties are using the best and latest technology to reach out even to the remote villages for campaign.
Mr Narendra Modi (Prime Minister of India) used the technology increasingly at his rally appearances to reach five million more voters during the two weeks of the Indian election campaign. He used hologram technology which has allowed him to speak live to the world’s largest electorate at rallies in dozens of remote towns all over the country as though he were there in the flesh.
It is believed to be the first time hologram technology has been used in a general election campaign
How effectively have we used the technology to take the gospel out to the remote villages?
It is sad that many of the rich churches are still using the old overhead projector instead of the LCD projector.
Ideally speaking, Christians should be leading in using these technology, but unfortunately we are lagging behind.
No wonder Jesus said,
Worldly people are more clever with their own kind than spiritual people are.
It’s high time for a paradigm shift.
Live wiser, smarter and cleverer. Be social. Make friends.
Jesus continues to say
I tell you, make friends for yourselves using worldly riches so that when those riches are gone, you will be welcomed in those homes that continue forever. Luke 16: 9
He comes to the point.
There is an eternal home for us. All that we see today will be gone. So do something with what you have now, and produce something which lasts for ever.
Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last. ~The famous poem by missionary CT Studd.
You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Ecc 11: 9
Therefore, the time we are on this earth is limited and precious. Every second is valuable. We are accountable to God for the resources, money, talents, education, time and all that He has given us.
Just calculate, how many years left for you?
We are to use the worldly riches in the best way possible, so that we can make more friends, do something good for society, and when the perishable money is consumed, we have the human relationships which are really worth keeping.
For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
We should be social, take part in good parties, make good relationships, have meaningful entertainments, but with an eye on heaven.
Even Jesus spent time making new friends, partying at their houses, but at the end, somebody got benefitted. Sinful people like Zacchaeus decided to change their lives. (Matt 11: 19, Luk 19)
We can make friends, spend money for social needs, etc, but at the end, something good or useful should be the outcome. That should be our ultimate focus, and not mere time-pass.
Are we sacrificing all these, just to somehow reach heaven? No! Our goal should be to make every use of every opportunity we have -the precious time, resource, energy- in order to produce something useful for both God and people, now and for ever.
Therefore let me conclude:
Christians are already wise in preparing themselves for eternal life, but we also need to be smarter in this world, to be more productive. Let Christians wake up.
May God bless you