63. God and Money.
Humans are not always efficient at managing God's resources, often squandering them. The inefficient manager decides to make friends with other people by giving them discounts on their debts so that they will treat him well. Although strictly speaking this person has been somewhat irresponsible, for the sake of mercy (to himself and others) he has given the other debtors a certain amount of leeway (a little grace) rather than holding them to strict account (which even he himself could not bear).
Realizing our own imperfections and shortcomings, we ought to be tolerant and forgiving of others so that we may live in friendship together. Living on the Earth means making some mistakes, and it would be impossible and frustrating to try to eliminate every mistake by judging ourselves harshly. What is important is that we move through these areas where mistakes tend to occur with love and mercy for ourselves and others. Often financial dealings are based on unjust exploitation in the first place, and to enforce strict accounting would be to further the exploitation.
Therefore Jesus implied that loving relationships between people are more important than material concerns. Either one values the human relationships of spiritual beings, or one values material wealth. Do we serve each other, or do we serve money, this false god that we have created?
Those people who had been programmed into a materialistic value system had great difficulty accepting or understanding this teaching. Jesus knew that these people had developed much rationalistic propaganda to convince other people of the justice of economic exploitation, and he also knew the selfishness of their hearts in their hoarding greediness. Now, he declared, the spiritual consciousness is being made available to everyone; so why cling to the material values that cause limitation and suffering - first for those who are exploited and left without mercy, and then for themselves when the karma of their actions returns to them?
The rich man lived in luxury but had no mercy on the poor, represented by Lazarus who was balancing his karma through suffering. When they both died, Lazarus had freed himself to rise high in consciousness, but the rich man had to face the karma of suffering he had not alleviated. The man prayed to Abraham (who represented the spiritual authority where they were) so that he would receive some mercy from Lazarus. However, because he had not helped Lazarus when he was in need, he now had to suffer without the help of Lazarus; he could have performed and received forgiveness and mercy, but he had left himself under the strict law of karma.
Looking ahead to the raising of Lazarus, Jesus indicated how those in the spiritual realms were praying that people on earth would accept this teaching of mercy and forgiveness. The traditional rebuttal was that the Jews had the teachings of Moses and the prophets; however, they were not really following the spirit of their teachings. Finally the plea is made to send someone back from the other side to tell people about the spiritual consciousness; yet even this would probably be ignored. Dr. Raymond Moody has made a study of people who have "died" briefly and returned in his book Life After Life.