There is a document in my files, an agreement with a company that I hope I never have to use. My homeowner’s policy would pay for reconstruction in the event of fire or flood. It would protect me in the event of a suit for another’s injury on my property. It is an important thing to have but something bought and forgotten for the most part. The various insurance policies that are in place to mitigate the impact of disaster on my life actually cost me several hundreds of dollars each month! But, to go without homeowner’s, health, auto, and life insurance would be a shortsighted choice- pennywise and dollar foolish. A person who financially astute person buys insurance, enough but not excessive. It would be folly for me to buy a $1,000,000 policy on my home which is worth much less. Insurance is an expense.
I send money off to another firm each month, too. Those funds are an investment! I anticipate receiving this money back, plus accrued interest, at a point in the future. I retain an active interest in those dollars, checking rates of return periodically, shifting ratios of investment to take advantage of opportunities as the economic climate changes.
So what’s my point today?
How do you regard your Christianity?
Is your practice a kind of ‘fire insurance,’ a minimal expense of time and money spent to in the hope of avoiding eternal destruction,
or is your faith an investment that anticipates a rich return, both in this life and the one to come?
A company seeking investment discloses its financial state and the anticipated rates of return to potential investors. God gave us a promise of a rich return on investment in the work of His Kingdom. When we pour ourselves, our time, our resources into His work – worshipping, serving, giving – with joy, we can rightly expect that He will keep safe our treasure; with a reward of true wealth for our lives – present and future.
Jesus gives this investment advice- “Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them.” (Matthew 6:19-20, CEV) In the middle of a talk about generosity of heart that reaches beyond money, Jesus promised this – “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full— pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38, NLT)
I hope you do not read that as ‘I put into $1 and He returns $100!’ The rewards of a life invested Christ’s enterprise are deeper and richer than a bigger bank account balance! In a passage that is too often set in the context of taking a collection at church, Paul speaks of the way a Believer invests his life.
The law of sowing and reaping is foundational to the thought. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-11, NIV)
Are you generous in love, in forgiveness, in service? Which is your first thought: to preserve your own life, or to give yourself away for the purposes to which God calls? Note that phrase, “God is able to make ALL GRACE abound to you.” He is our Source of every good gift of life. As we give, He returns grace, “pouring on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.” (The Message)
If we are invested in Heaven’s treasure, we will live in peace, our minds and hearts resting on the One who is now managing our life treasure. Paul penned words of assurance, words that reflect the investment of his life in Heaven’s secure bank. He was about to die as a martyr in Rome. Is he bitter, wondering how a life given to God could end this way? Is he full of regret wishing he had remained an obscure tentmaker? No, he is looking forward to a reward! “I am not ashamed, (embarrassed by my present circumstances) because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. (the Day of Judgment)” (2 Timothy 1:12, NIV) “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8, NIV)
Summing up today, I ask –
How do you think of your Christianity,
as insurance – minimal outlay to secure present wealth the in event of catastrophe;
or as an investment – maximum participation with assured return in Eternity?
Your answer will shape every decision, every part of your life.
The word from the Word for the day. “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19, ESV)
(A great song that points us to real faith in the Builder)
Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sin
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You
Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You We live for You
Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me
I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken
Brett Younker | Karl Martin | Kirby Elizabeth Kaple | Matt Redman | Pat Barrett
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