In looking at Luke 16, we see two different examples of our need to use our resources to benefit others. The first is the parable of the shrewd manager. The second one is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
In the parable of the shrewd manager, I would agree with Robert Stein that Jesus is not recommending that the people be dishonest, but he is clearly commending him for his use of worldly resources. For us, however, Jesus is calling us to use our resources for the benefit of others.
“I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores us a reward for you in heaven.”Luke 16:9 NLT
For the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man — who would seen to know the scriptures — uses his wealth on himself. He cares very little for the people who are starving around him (Lazarus, although starving, could see the scraps from the rich man’s table). These two saw each other every day, and the rich man, with the ability to help Lazarus, chose not to do so.
This man has clearly not used his worldly resources to benefit others. The result is eternal torment in Hell. Now that he finds himself in this place, he wants to save his brothers, but it is too late. He has lost the opportunity to share with his brothers and keep them from their potential fate.
When meeting with a couple this week, the woman mentioned her conversation with someone, where the person didn’t want to be a bother, and she said something like, “don’t rob me of my opportunity to bless you.”
In a multiethnic setting, we need to be willing to serve and to be served, giving others the opportunity to bless us as well. This acknowledges that all have self-worth, and gives opportunities for others to see both sides — being blessed and blessing others — allowing for a healthy give and take.
Therefore, We want to look for opportunities to give and be a blessing, and if we are struggling, we want to reach out so that others may have the opportunity to bless us. Both cases benefit others.