NOT AND EXCUSE TO CHEAT: Jesus is using the shrewd manager who made friends at the expense of his boss' accounts as an example for Jesus' followers to share their worldly possessions with friends, not as an example of how we should try to cheat the establishment. In a sense, Jesus says to spend the money here and now by using it to help out and even entertain others, because you won't need it where you're going.
YOU CAN'T READ ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER: One big thing I've noticed reading through Luke this year is how much a full understanding of what he wrote in his gospel depends on Matthew. The two evangelists are different from each other in every way, especially their writing styles. Luke has this tendency to group Jesus' teachings and parables by their overarching topic. For example, yesterday we read three parables about being lost & found, but that doesn't mean that Jesus told them all in a row, rather that's just how Luke recorded them.
Today is another example. The main theme is being faithful with the things you've been given: your money, even your spouse, and the opportunities you've had to repent and trust in God's grace. The point is that Luke is not teaching all there is to teach about money, marriage and the afterlife in this chapter. For example, when we read about divorce in v18, it's quite stark. This is because Luke is making the point that we should be faithful in marriage just like we should with all of our other resources. For a much fuller understanding of the particulars of marriage and divorce, you have to also read what Matthew records Jesus saying about it (ch. 19), and especially the original context Jesus spoke these words into. Once again, be thankful we've been given four complementary accounts of Jesus' life so we can have a full understanding of what He taught.
HEAVEN AND HELL ARE NOT RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER: Knowing Luke's writing style is critical for understanding the parable of the rich man & Lazarus. Jesus is not giving a lesson here on what heaven and hell are like, rather He's using hyperbole, which Jesus does quite often, to make the point that there are no second chances in the afterlife to embrace the grace God offers right now. Other passages in the Bible that describe heaven and hell (there are very few of them) give no indication that there will be any sort of communication between the two, or even that we'll even recognize one another.
THE WORDS YOU'RE READING CONTAIN POWER: Abraham tells the rich man that scripture is sufficient to convince men of their need to repent. Understand that you need to know these Words, because there is no salvation outside of them.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: A God who gives us so many good things so that we will use those things to bring ourselves and others closer to Him
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: You cannot serve two masters... You cannot serve both God and money (v13)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: