Connections 09.18.2022: Financial Shrewdness

Luke 16:1-13

Last year, my husband and I decided to take on the expensive project of replacing the siding and windows of our home. We were unable to pay the company the entire amount upfront, and we didn’t want to take out a loan and pay interest to a bank. My dad graciously offered to lend us the money. We developed a plan to pay him back at a lower interest rate than a bank would have offered.

As the monthly payments come due, I’ve been paying more than the agreed amount, shaving months off the payment time. But I’m also taking interest away from my dad, so he may end up not gaining much of anything through this agreement.

This isn’t exactly like what happens in Jesus’ strange parable. I haven’t squandered Daddy’s money the way the manager did with the rich man’s property. My father wouldn’t want to sever our relationship simply because I’m getting ahead in my payments to him. But I do think I’m being shrewd in paying more than the amount due. I try to do this with other debts as well, like our mortgage and car payments. The goal is to try to pay close to the original cost of the items and pay as little extra as possible to the lender.

Verse 13 in this passage is familiar to many people: “No slave can serve two masters, for a slave will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Other than the obvious ways, how can we keep from being slaves to money? How can we keep from serving wealth? Aside from avoiding greed, giving generously to those in need, and striving to be satisfied with what we have, I think there are some practical strategies to accomplish this.

1. We can follow the “S” rule with our money: save some, share some, and spend some.
2. We can budget well, reigning over our money rather than having it control us. This means knowing how much we currently have in our accounts, how much is going out to bills and other necessities, how much we save and give, and how much we spend on extras.
3. We can overpay on our debts so that we don’t end up giving thousands of dollars over what something originally cost.

There are other ways, but these are a good start. Let’s be shrewd but not dishonest. Let’s work the system without cheating anybody. Let’s serve God rather than money.


• Finances are a touchy subject, especially in the church. How does your church handle issues of stewardship and budgeting?
• What are your current practices around money?
• At this time in your life, do you feel that you control your money or your money controls you?
• If you are struggling with your finances and feel like a slave to money, what steps could you take to be more shrewd in this area?
• How could you give your finances to God and follow God’s leading in the ways you budget?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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