In an unmentioned time and place, a man robbed a bank. To back up a bit this man was homeless. All he owned could fit in his backpack. The unfortunate thing is that he used to have a good job and house but due to gambling and an uncontrollable desire for women, he lost everything: his job, his house, and his wife. So eventually he found himself on the street.
One day as he's sitting outside of a bank his desire for what he used to have, when he had money, overwhelms him. He decides to rob the bank. He finds a mask and a gun shaped object to put under his shirt and goes in. Within 5 minutes he's out and has $10,000 in his backpack. Just as he makes it around the corner and sits down with some other homeless people as if nothing happened he begins to hear the sirens of the police.
That night he began to think about what he had done. At his point, he hadn't told anyone. After thinking it through he realizes that he was seen by the security camera. An overwhelming sense of "my time is limited" overtakes him. He goes to a completely different part of town. After more thinking he realizes, "I can't walk around with $10,000 and expect no one to notice. What do I do?" He comes up with a plan.
Walking down the road he sees a street vendor. He begins talking to him and finds out that the vendor has a dream of having his own shop. He gives him $6,000 to help him with that dream and gets his contact information.
After that conversation he overhears a young married couple discussing how expensive diapers are and they can't afford it. He gives them $1,000 and gets their contact information.
Later in the day he wonders into a grocery store and sits in the front of the store. He waits and eventually sees a few families with very full carts and several children. He pays for their groceries and gets their contact information. He gives $1,000 in total.
He spreads $1,200 around to various anonymous donation boxes for charities. The remaining $300 he keeps for himself.
He continues living on the street and with the $300 he buys something small to eat every day and a newspaper so he can follow his bank robbery that has now received a lot of media attention. After a few months of waiting and reading the paper it's clear that the police have no leads and idea of who robbed the bank. He begins contacting all the people he gave money to. The families he helped allow him to stay in their houses for a while. He doesn't stay at any one for too long but keeps a small rotation going. The vendor gives him a job in his new store. Eventually this homeless man makes enough money to get his own place. The store does well enough that he ends up being a manager and eventually gets married, has children, and lives a happy life. No one ever finds out he robbed the bank.
Obviously, this guy isn't the best role model. He wasted all his money and life then he ends up on the street and robs a bank. Not someone I'd want our daughter to imitate. But for as wicked as he might be, he really does some wise things that we could learn from.
He knows his time is limited with the money. So he begins to make friends and contacts using the wealth he just gained. His plan works. By seeing money as a tool to influence and help people it eventually comes back to benefit him. If he would have kept the money or just spent it on himself, he would have been caught by the police and received his just punishment. He knew that relationships were more valuable than money. So, rather than trying to use people to get more money he uses his money to build relationships.
How much wiser is this bank robber than the average Christian? What if we seen that our time on this earth with the possessions God has given us is limited? Would we use it for things more eternal and lasting? If we're not managing well the things we have for a short time, we won't be good stewards of the things that last eternally. We can't serve two masters. We will either serve God and love people through our money, time, and life or we will serve money, gain, and self image.
It's better to build relationships and expand the Kingdom of God through the use of your things so that when you enter heaven you'll have a great reward than to save for yourself great riches, die, and have nothing.
Is this bank robber a better steward than we are?
(This was inspired by Luke 16:1-13. Read that Parable from Jesus and think about these things.)