There were once three brothers who lived in a land of plenty. They were prospering and it looked as though the future would bring more prosperity. But one day these men secretly received information to the effect that within a year their nation would he swallowed up by a foreign power.

Within a year,

- their bank accounts would be worthless,

- their land would be taken from them,

- their comfortable homes would house the officers of a foreign army.

"What shall we do?"

The first brother shrugged his shoulders. "I'm going to go on living just the way I am. This may all be a mistake. The enemy may never come."

The second said, "I'm not taking any chances." And he began to sell his land, his home, everything he had and converted everything into gold. And one night he went into the woods and buried his gold beneath a rock.

Strangest of all was the behavior of the third brother. He too sold his property and lands. But instead of converting his money into gold, he went from place to place and wherever he saw people who were in need, hungry, naked, sick, he gave his money to them. He gave and gave until he had nothing left.

Just as the third brother was giving away his last dollar the march of enemy boots could be heard in the streets. It was exactly as had been told. The whole land fell under foreign occupation.

The first brother lost his home and his land - everything. He had no place to go, no one showed him any sympathy.

The second brother tried to use his gold to buy his way into the good graces of the invaders, but they took his gold and spit in his face and laughed at him.

The third brother had nothing that could be taken. He had no gold, no house, no land. But now a hundred houses were open to him, a hundred tables were spread for him and his family. For the poor to whom he had given hadn't forgotten him. They were glad to share with him all that they had.

And I say unto you, make friends for yourselves by means of the unrighteous mammon, that when it fails they may receive you into the everlasting habitations.

                                                            Luke 16

Do we understand what Jesus is saying? He is saying that one day your money and possessions will fail you. They will be stripped away from you completely. You'll leave the world as you came in - with nothing.

- Your money will be gone.

- Your house will be occupied by others.

- You credit card will be a memory.

Then what will you do?

Jesus says that when you enter into this state, the only security you will have, if you have it at all, will be the security of friends. What will happen to you in the next world will depend on whether you have any friends over there waiting to receive you into the everlasting habitations. And who are these friends waiting for you over there? Not your social pals, but the poor, the maimed, the despised, rejected, and forsaken of this world.

- If you used your mammon, your money and things, to share with them in this life, they will be waiting to share with you in the next.


            - If you kept your mammon for yourself in this life, your chances in the next life will be bleak.

How many, in that day, will say, ''But Lord, I was a Christian. I went to church. I read my Bible. I said my prayers.''

And then he will remind you of his own words in Luke l6.

 ''if, therefore, ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches. And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another's who shall give you that which is your own.''

''If you couldn't even use the money and possessions I gave you faithfully for my purpose, what makes you think you have a claim on eternal life?''

When you were a pagan, you could look upon your money as your own - the very sight of it warmed your heart, It made you feel good when you held it in your hand.

But when you became a follower of Jesus, your money, no matter how much or how little you have, becomes your practice material. It's not nearly as important as it was before. It is "that which is least." It's kindergarten. But God watches very closely what you do with it.

- Will you be faithful in that which is least?

- Will you use it to make friends, as Jesus advises?

The first place that you must prove to God that you really believe this gospel, that you really want to obey, is with your money.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.

Most of us still have some radical changes to make in our thinking. From childhood we were taught that it's virtuous to pile up wealth for ourselves.

"A person ought to have something to show for their life when they reach old age."

Did Jesus ever teach this?

No, Jesus our Lord clearly teaches the very opposite. Jesus says,

"Don't concentrate your heart on getting, concentrate your heart on giving. Don't live to get, live to give."

And when, from time-to-time, we see a person who is really trying to do this, we call them a fool.

"Hey, that man is crazy! He's giving away his money like a politician on election day."

But the person who gives out of faith in God to those who need is no fool. He's wise. She’s a thousand times wiser than all the half-baked Christians around her. This man, this woman,  are laying up treasure where neither moth nor rust can corrupt and where thieves cannot break through and steal.

Now the thing we're all afraid of is this:

- If I start giving the way Jesus teaches, to all the needs that pull on my heart, I'll never have anything for myself.

But that’s not how it works. You'll have all you need when you start giving by faith. You will never be in want.

- You may be on the very edge of want,

- You may be only one day away from hunger,

but just when you come to the end of your own resources, God will open heaven.

Give and it shall be given you again, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give into your bosom.

                                                Luke 6

How long will we be afraid to believe this?

How long will we offend against God by refusing to obey our Lord in this matter?

If you are really serious about entering God's Kingdom,

if you really want the gifts of the Spirit,

if you really desire to enter the everlasting habitations on the other side of the grave, the place to begin, friend, is with that which is least: your mammon.

Sit down with your pen and a piece of clean white paper and sign all you have over to God. Promise God in writing that you will use the money and possessions in your keeping as he directs you. Put the paper in your Bible or some other safe place. Renew the promise on your knees each day this week - then go out and live it. Every time the Spirit of God nudges your heart to give to someone, or to some cause, do it - immediately. If you give a dollar to someone and your heart still has no peace, give him two or five or ten. Give until you have peace from God about it in your soul.

If you will faithfully do this, you will find that this stumbling block to faith in God - secret covetousness - will begin to crumble, and the grace and power of God will begin to flow into you in a new way.

And you know, as you start living like this, when you start living to give instead of to get, all the fears you used to have about the future will go away. You'll have more confidence about tomorrow than if you had a million dollars in the bank. For when you live to give you are living God's way, and those who live God's way have God's peace.

Moreover, you will have friends who will still be your friends when you stand on the other side of death without a dime to your name. They will be waiting to welcome you into the everlasting habitations.

And I say unto you, make friends for yourselves by means of the unrighteous mammon, that when it fails they may receive you into the everlasting habitations.