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I believe Jesus is illustrating two important principles in how we manage in this world the wealth that God has entrusted to us: 1) the wealth entrusted to us will be used for "good" or "evil" purposes. There is no "neutral or ambivalent" use. Every material thing in our world will be used to advance some good or evil purpose. Jesus wants us to wake up and be alert so that our wealth is always used for good purposes. God is promising great returns (30, 60 & 100 fold) when we invest our wealth in justice, righteousness and mercy for the benefit of those in need. 2) Unbelievers (sons of this world) are far more shrewd at investing their wealth & ours (when we are ignorant to or ambivalent of their schemes) for their evil purposes. Jesus is admonishing believers to learn these shrewd ways and then use them for good and Godly purposes. Once we are interested in learning, then the Holy Spirit will teach us what we need to know and guide us in each investment strategy. A simple but shrewd and effective strategy to use our wealth for good is commonly referred to as "pay it forward" or "random acts of kindness". You may have experienced this at a fast food drive thru. You order your food and then come to the payment window only to discover that your food has already been paid for by the driver ahead of you. You are so surprised by joy that you tell the attendant you want to pay for the food for the vehicle behind you. How far does everyone in line pay it forward? Only God and the attendant knows, and there are smiles on both faces. Or perhaps you have prepared a home cooked meal and delivered it unannounced to a family in need as a random act of kindness. Or you shovelled the snow off a neighbours driveway when the husband is traveling out of town. These are just a few examples. What Jesus is ultimately saying is that the more shrewd and creative we become at investing our wealth for good and Godly purposes, the greater the returns on our investments (5 fold becomes 30, 30 fold becomes 100). These investments are laying up treasures in heaven and the corresponding rewards we receive from Jesus will last forever.
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