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Closely Related:
- How Should "Mammon" be Interpreted - Linguistically?

Do Luke 16:9 and Luke 16:13 contradict each other?

I would think associating, or walking, or making friends with the unrighteous mammon is what messiah advises against in Luke 16:13, and Psalm 1:1 teaches against?

But - What then did He mean in Luke 16:9, since the term 'everlasting' isn't a reference to earthly things?

Luke 16:9 - And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

Luke 16:13 -No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

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  • Related (potential duplicate?): "Was the discounting by the manager in Luke 16 a dishonest act?"
    – Dɑvïd
    Aug 10, 2016 at 15:31
  • @ Davïd, Related but not quite the same meaning the way I see them. Doesn't 'everlasting habitations' mean anything to you, given that His purpose of coming included for the most part making known things of the age to come?
    – Witness
    Aug 10, 2016 at 16:23
  • @Witness - If I understand correctly - Are you asking for resolutions to resolve a seeming contradiction? : A.) Like : "In Luke 16, Jesus appears to imply "Mammon" is both positive, and negative. How should the contradiction be resolved?" B.) Is my edit a proper representation of your intent? C.) Also, I just posted a very related question : How should “Mammon” be Interpreted - Linguistically? Mar 9, 2017 at 1:48

2 Answers 2

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Mammon refers to wealth that has been given to us by God. We serve mammon (Luke 16:13) when we are passionately attached to our wealth and hold back a part of it for ourselves. Wealth so held back is mammon of unrighteousness (Luke 16:9). The Lord's command to make to ourselves friends from the mammon of unrighteousness means to let go of that which we are jealously holding on to.

This is the lesson of the foregoing parable about the corrupt steward. Having been warned by the rich man, he quickly makes friends from those he had cheated previously and is rewarded by his master for his good deeds despite his previous errors.

The interpretations above are consistent with that presented by the 11th century Byzantine (Orthodox) cleric, Theophylact of Ohrid. Theophylact further observes:

We must make friends for ourselves by means of this mammon of unrighteousness, which is the money and wealth the Lord has given us to spend for the needs of our brothers and fellow-servants, but which we have hoarded for ourselves. But, even though it is late, we understand where we are headed, and that there will be nothing we can do when that day comes. Then it will not be the time for labor, nor will it be seemly to beg, for the virgins who beg are foolish [Matthew 25:1-13].

What should we do? We should divide this wealth among our brethren, so that when we fail here, that is when we depart from this life, the poor will receive us into everlasting habitations [Luke 16:9]. The everlasting habitations have been reserved for the poor in Christ, and these poor are able to welcome into their heavenly habitations those who befriended them in this life by giving them that wealth which should have been given them in the first place because it is the Master's. These are those debtors of whom it is said, All day long the righteous showeth merch, and lendeth [Psalm 36:26 LXX], and again, He that showeth mercy to the poor lends to God [Psalm 19:17 LXX].

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  • Thx for the response. ''The Lord's command to make to ourselves friends from the mammon of unrighteousness means to let go of that which we are jealously holding on to'' I fail to see a connection between ''making friends with the unrighteous mammon'' and letting go of what we 'hold onto'. My question wasn't about how we come to that friendship, rather, its about what He meant by 'everlasting habitations', terms that don't refer to earthly things but eternal circumstances. In all His teachings He communicated 'eternal truths', John 3:12. What was it in Luke 16:9?
    – Witness
    Aug 10, 2016 at 21:40
  • The connection is in the fact that mammon (i.e. wealth) becomes unrighteous when we hold on to it ourselves and do not give to those in need. The poor become our friends, so to speak, when we finally do let go and give to them that which has been given to us. The everlasting habitations are, as Theophylact explains above, the abodes of the poor in heaven: "these poor are able to welcome into their heavenly habitations those who befriended them in this life by giving them that wealth which should have been given them in the first place because it is the Master's."
    – user15733
    Aug 11, 2016 at 15:43
  • He said make yourself friends 'with the mammon of unrighteousness' just so you should fail in matters of righteousness, and I dare say in kingdom stewardship, that they might offer that unproductive one a place in 'their' eternal dwellings. The context is about one who 'fails' to serve a righteous master, in which case they should resort to the mammon of unrighteousness for succor. Yet according to you, are the poor the 'mammon of unrighteousness' then, with whom the bungler should make friends with? I am at loss as to how you read this writing.
    – Witness
    Aug 11, 2016 at 21:48
  • He said make yourself friends 'with the mammon of unrighteousness' just so you should fail in matters of righteousness, and I dare say in kingdom stewardship, that they might offer that unproductive one a place in their eternal dwellings. The context is about one who 'fails' to serve a righteous master, in which case they should resort to the mammon of unrighteousness for succor. Yet according to you, are the poor the 'mammon of unrighteousness' then, with whom the bungler should make friends with? I am at loss as to how you read this writing.
    – Witness
    Aug 11, 2016 at 21:53
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Mammon represents the worldly wealth, the actual money, contrary to the true riches (Luke 16:11), the eternal dwellings.

Jesus used the Parable of the Shrewd Manager to teach His disciples, even the son of the world know best how to use money for his own good, they should use the worldly wealth wisely for their eternal dwellings. Jesus concluded His teaching "You cannot serve both God and money", so let go the worldly wealth and serving God.

There is no contradiction of Luke 16:9 & 16:13. Jesus' message is clear: give away the worldly wealth (mammon) in order to earn the eternal dwellings. You either have God's wealth (eternal dwellings) or worldly wealth (mammon) but not both.

The friends who will receive you into eternal dwellings is Jesus (Luke 16:9). So when His disciples do what Jesus commanded, give away the worldly wealth for one of the least of brothers and sisters of Jesus, they did for Jesus, and Jesus will receive them into eternal dwellings.

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40 NIV)

14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:14-15 NIV)

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  • I couldn't help but note that 'friends' is plural but 'Jesus' is singular?
    – Riemann
    Oct 22, 2023 at 15:51
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    @Riemann - the friends of Jesus is plural. Whatever you did for the friends of Jesus, you did it for Jesus (singular). Jesus used His friends instead of His name in Luke 16:9 because physically you can only do to His friends. Oct 23, 2023 at 2:35

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