Invest it and Forget it!

spendInvesting is about putting money, time, and/or effort into something today with the expectation of a return in the future.  Investing demands discipline and patience, doesn’t it?  35 years ago, when my income was meager compared to the present, a person I trusted talked to me about my future and encouraged me to set aside a small amount of money every time I was paid, putting it into my 403 (b) account.  I took his advice and set aside $30 from every check, a pittance really, but it was a start. John told me to ‘forget’ it, to let it grow, and to keep it up.

Times came when I really ‘needed’ to keep that money for the present. I stayed with the plan, increasing the amount set aside over the years as my income grew. When I saw that account balance turning into 6 figures, I faced the temptation to ‘borrow’ it.  Now, as I approach those years when I will no longer have a regular income, I am so thankful for that man who pressed me to  invest.

Spending is easy compared to investing!

Spending provides immediate gratification. Buying something I desire is fun. Sending money off to that retirement account makes it seem to just disappear, out of my hands, unavailable to me right now.  Investing is like seed planting, anticipating another season.

Serving the Lord is definitely more like investing than spending, isn’t it?

Each day we are given time, energy, resources to use. Some of us spend it all, some of us even mortgaging our future to get something we want today.  Making worship a regular practice is hard when Sunday comes and there are a thousand things that are more fun in that moment.  Giving our time to service – teaching, caring, loving – can be tough. When we commit to a ministry that requires us to show up, to do well, it limits our ‘freedom’ to do what we desire. Becoming part of a small group of disciples that grow together is not always fun and certainly demands that we set aside our own agenda. Giving to our church, the tithe (10%), sometimes causes us to look at that money and think, “My family could enjoy _______________ (you fill in the blank) if I kept that money in my checking account.”

Will we invest in those situations, anticipating a return in the future, perhaps not even until eternity, or will we just spend?

The preacher named Malachi spoke God’s message in a time of relative prosperity. The people of the Lord were struggling with keeping God first, with investing themselves in Him.  Instead of wholehearted serving and giving, they were choosing a course of minimal participation. God was offended by their attitude and sent this word. “Isn’t it true that a son honors his father and a worker his master? So if I’m your Father, where’s the honor? If I’m your Master, where’s the respect?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling you on the carpet: “You priests despise me! “You say, ‘Not so! How do we despise you?’ “By your shoddy, sloppy, defiling worship. “You ask, ‘What do you mean, “defiling”? What’s defiling about it?’ “When you say, ‘The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority,’ that’s defiling. And when you offer worthless animals for sacrifices in worship, animals that you’re trying to get rid of—blind and sick and crippled animals—isn’t that defiling?” … God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.” (Malachi 1:6-8, The Message)

When we regard serving the Lord and giving to His work as just another cost of life like the electric bill or our taxes, we will seek to do only what is necessary, limiting the expense so to speak. And, that is exactly how so many Christians live. Serving the Lord is not an investment in eternity. There is no delight, no joy, in Him.  So many other things are allowed to crowd out worship and prayer. God is given the left-overs, as if He were worth what ‘we can afford.’

Wise Christians regard Him as their true Treasure and they invest in Him.  We must not say, “I will invest when there is more time or money.”  The truth is that with the increase comes more opportunity to feed Self, and without the discipline of investing learned early, we will not choose to give at all.  Jesus explains, “Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom. … but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life.” (Matthew 19:24, 29, The Message)

Here are the ancient words of Preacher Malachi. May they challenge our habits of spending and cause us to invest. “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” (Malachi 3:8-10, NLT)

_______________

Take My Life And Let It Be

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise
Let them flow in ceaseless praise

 Take my silver and my gold
Not a mite would I withhold
Take my intellect and use
Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose
Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose

 Take my will and make it Thine
It shall be no longer mine
Take my heart it is Thine own
It shall be Thy royal throne
It shall be Thy royal throne

 Take my love my Lord I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
Ever only all for Thee
Ever only all for Thee

Public Domain

1 Comment

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One response to “Invest it and Forget it!

  1. Well written! May we continue to strive to resist the temptation of minimalism, setting aside a freedom of indifference. Instead investing, sacrificing, and disciplining our time, talent, and treasure in the Lord, thus striving to access a freedom for excellence becoming freer to hear and know his word to better serve Jesus.

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