Andrew was thinking to himself, “Well my friend, according to Jesus, after you die you’ll be thinking a lot more about now, and how you lived your life here.” But he remained silent, which we have learned is the best response in this type of situation. Let people talk themselves out, and possibly they will hear how misguided they sound, without us having to point it out to them.
After a moment Secundus started again. “I overheard the older man say, ‘I’ve been listening to the apostles, and it seems it really matters the way we handle our money here, when we get there.’
The other man responded, “By there do you mean Heaven? Because I’ve been hearing the same thing. Perhaps it is the Holy Spirit once again giving us the clarity to hear the truth. Brother John was talking just the other day about one of Jesus’ parables. It was that one about a shrewd manager who was about to get fired.”
The older man broke in and said, “Yes, I do mean Heaven, and I agree, that shrewd manager story is an odd parable, for sure. When Jesus concluded his story with, ‘I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings,’ it gave me great pause.”
Secundus paused, and looked directly at Andrew, and asked, “Does he mean we should be purposeful and smart with our money, investing it in things with eternal significance? And if we do, we’ll be greeted and thanked when we enter heaven by those whose lives are affected by our giving?”
“Yes, my friend, that is exactly what Jesus means,” replied Andrew. “And listen to what Barnabas was teaching the other day: ‘Those among us who have been blessed by the Father should seek to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.’”
Secundus quickly interrupted Andrew, “Jesus and Barnabas are both talking about eternal rewards, aren’t they?” He paused for a moment in contemplation, then said, “Okay, so I’m listening to these two men’s conversation about money and eternal significance, and I’m wanting to sluff it off and walk away, but the Holy Spirit – I guess it was Him – wouldn’t let me. So I screwed up my courage and interrupted them.
“Excuse me,” I said, “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. I’m 30 and starting to make some real money. If you were me, how would you prioritize your spending and your investing?”
The 70 year old man looked me in the eye and said, “Son, do you want to be spending your money on a world that is going, or investing your money in a world that is coming?”
Andrew repeated those words, “Spending on a world going away, or investing in a world that is coming. Hmm, I like that.”
Secundus frowned and said to Andrew, “Well I didn’t like it. They were very nice, and sincere, but that’s not really what I was looking for. “Well,” I sort of stuttered in response to his question, “I’m not sure …,” but the 50 year old man interrupted me and said, “I’m curious, do you consider yourself a Christian?”