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May 2, 2012

“Gain All You Can, Save All You Can, Give All You Can”

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Dr. Craig Blomberg reflects on John Wesley and Luke 16:9:

In a famous sermon called “The Use of Money,” on Luke 16:9, preached at least 28 times in various forms in the mid-1700s, Wesley unpacked the three points, “Gain all you can,” “Save all you can,” and “Give all you can.”  Of course, he explained that he referred to ethical profit that did not engage in immoral activity or bring physical or spiritual hurt to oneself or one’s neighbor.  He himself fixed a modest standard of living for himself as a young man and, as his income grew considerably throughout his life, each year gave the growing surplus away to the Lord’s work and especially to help the poor.  But he also realized that others could make even more money through savings and wise investments over a longer period of time and then have more to give away.  Wesley was not averse to people providing reasonable amounts for their families, and leaving an inheritance, but warned against spoiling children with too much.  And Wesley himself died with very little to his name.

Wesley’s exegesis of Luke 16:9 matches exactly the best of modern commentators’ understandings.  Use the ordinary material possessions of this world, all of which are sooner or later tainted in some way, for kingdom purposes—first for “the household of faith” and then for others (Gal. 6:10)—so that those who precede us in death as Christians, ministered to in some way by our giving, will welcome us into the life to come.  

Read the rest of Dr. Blomberg's post here.

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