And I say to you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when you fail…
"Mammon" is just the Syrian word for money, and it is called "unrighteous " or "unjust" because those to whom our Lord was speaking had made their money by injustice. It was as little their own as the unjust steward's was. The steward was unjust because he had not regarded himself as a steward; and in so far as we have forgotten this fundamental circumstance, we also are unjust. We may not have consciously wronged any man or defrauded any; but if we have omitted to consider what was due to God and man, the likelihood is we have more money than we have a right to. The name, indeed, "unrighteous mammon," is sometimes sweepingly applied to all wealth and material advantages, because there is a feeling that the whole system of trade, commerce, and social life is inextricably permeated with fraudulent practices and iniquitous customs — so permeated that no man can be altogether free, or is at all likely to be altogether free, from all guilt in this matter. Take any coin out of your pocket and make it tell its history, the hands it has been in, the things it has paid for, the transactions it has assisted, and you would be inclined to fling it away as contaminated and filthy. But that coin is a mere emblem of all that comes to you through the ordinary channels of trade, and suggests to you the pollution of the whole social condition. The clothes you wear, the food you eat, the house you live in, the money you are asked to invest, have all a history which will not bear scrutiny. Oppression, greed, and fraud serve you every day. Whether you will or not you are made partakers of other men's sins. You may be thankful if your hands are not soiled by any stain that you have wittingly incurred; but even so, you must ask, What compensation can I make for the unrighteousness which cleaves to mammon? how am I to use it now, seeing I have it? Our Lord says, "You are to make friends with it, who may receive you into everlasting habitations." You are so to use your opportunities that when your present stewardship is over you may not be turned out in the cold and to beggary, but may have secured friends who will give you a welcome to the eternal world. It is the same view of the connection of this world and the next which our Lord gives in His picture of the last judgment, when He says, "Inasmuch as ye have done it," etc. Those whom we have done most good to are, as a rule, those whom we have most loved; and what better welcome to a new world, what more grateful guidance in its ways, could we desire than that of those whom here on earth we have loved most dearly? Can you promise yourselves any better reward than to meet the loving recognition and welcome of those who have experienced your kindness; to be received by those to whom you have willingly sacrificed money, time, opportunities of serving yourself?
(Marcus Dods, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.