Investing 101

Pr. 18:16:  “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.”

While we wait on the Lord’s return we have work to do.  We can never forget that ultimately, the work we are called to do is to spread the message of Jesus Christ.  God is depending on us to point others to Him.

I was reading the parable of the talents in Mathew 25 this morning.  It reminded me that God has entrusted us with resources that He expects us to use to multiply the kingdom.  He did not give us resources and salvation so that we can sit comfortably in our happy place and keep it all to ourselves.  He expects us to put those resources to work.

That work will look different in a lot of lives.  We have all been given different resources so that we can reach a wide range of people.  Some will be preachers and pastors.  Some will be missionaries in a foreign land.  Others will minister to people in prison.  Levites will lead the way with music ministry, bringing others into the presence of the Lord.

Others, however, may look more like a mother talking to her children about the Lord day after day, reminding them of God’s love and provision.  Some will hand out food in their community, or spread God’s love to those around them by simple actions of kindness or charity.  I have watched my own mother approach a cash register to simply purchase a shirt, and before we walked away, both she and the cashier were in tears, hugging and praising God.  It could look like that.

Perhaps it’s a Sunday school teacher, faithfully teaching Sunday after Sunday, feeding adults or children with the Word of God.  It could be a nursery worker, caring lovingly for a helpless baby while it’s parents are being ministered to.  Sometimes it’s a miraculous offering of forgiveness that can only be explained as a gift from God.  It could even be a financial giving of resources.

God expects us to use our resources for His kingdom.  In the parable of the talents, the man who had given the talents to his servants returned to find out what had been done with them.  There was 1 servant who had buried and hid his talent until the master returned.  The master was disappointed that the servant had not done anything with it.

One day, Jesus will return.  He will look to see how we have used our resources for His kingdom, and He will expect to see some sort of return.  We cannot hide our resources or His love away.  Others are counting on us.  And our work will please the Master.

Investing,

jamie

Investing in eternal life

Pr. 11:4:  “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”

I just finished a book series that took place after an outbreak of a pandemic disease wiped out 80% of the world’s population.  Children were orphaned, farms were abandoned, industry and retail ceased.  Money could no longer buy a single thing on the earth.  Everyone was suddenly on equal grounds…all simply trying to survive.

This verse reminds me of that.  On the day the Lord returns, our riches, material possessions, status, and opulence won’t save us.  Only righteousness (living right with God) will deliver us from death.

The question begs to be asked of us all:  Are you investing more time into gaining or upkeep of riches that will not profit or into gaining or sustaining your relationship with God, which will quite literally save you from death?

As I think about the plans I’ve made for my day, with this verse in mind, I can see that my plans are a bit unbalanced.  Thankfully I still have time to readjust those plans before the day is up.  So do you.  🙂

Calibrating the scale,

jamie

Happy birthday, dad!

Pr. 4:1:  “Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding.”

Today is my dad’s birthday.  The most amazing thing about that is that about 14 years ago, doctor’s said he probably wouldn’t live 2 more years.  Yeah, dad!  That stubborn determination sure pays off sometimes, huh?  🙂

I am grateful today that, regardless of what medical science could prove, the Lord had different plans for my father.

I’m thinking of the instruction my father taught me over the years…of the things he wanted me to understand.

He let me dig up worms for our fishing trips when I was a kid.  He wanted me to understand how to be industrious and fearless.

He made me wear a shirt when we were working in our garden when I was six, even though all the guys had theirs off.  He wanted me to understand discretion.

He took time to play Weeble Wobbles with me when I was little.  He wanted me to understand that I was important to him.

He taught me how to drive when it was time, and although I wanted to drive like Dale Earnhardt, he wanted me to understand that safety was pretty important.

He took us to my cousin’s houses, to family events, and on family vacations.  He wanted me to understand how to enjoy life and family, and which investments would last longer than most.

He worked hard at church.  He wanted me to understand that the Lord’s house was worthy of our time and our respect.

In sickness, my dad’s perspective on life shifted a bit.  Little things that used to bother him or get him upset no longer seemed too big of a deal.  He began to appreciate family and the little blessings in life in a way he never had before.

Over and over since then, he has reminded me that there’s no need to get upset about little things in life.  He wants me to understand what’s really important and treat each day as a gift from God.

He texts me almost every morning, proclaiming that “this is the day the Lord has made,” or simply reminding me that it’s a blessing to have another day.  He reminds me every time we speak that he is blessed. He wants me to understand that it’s not possessions, perfect health, status, or any other worldly ideal that makes us blessed.  He wants me to understand that being a child of God is the true blessing.  He wants me to understand that each day we’re alive is one more opportunity to invest in what truly matters.

So, thanks, dad, for the instructions.  See?  I have been paying attention after all.  ha!  And I love you.  ❤

Blessed,

jamie

Don’t allow your labors and wealth to go to another

Pr. 5:10:  “Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner.”

I recall a particular sleepover my daughter had with her friend when she was a young girl.  The next night, as I tucked her in to bed, she was cuddling a stuffed animal I had never seen.  When I asked her where she got it, she told me that her friend’s mom had taken them to Wal-mart and bought it for her.  How sweet.

I asked her if I could look at the toy, and when I got a better look, I could see scratches on the eyes of the animal and raggedy fur.  I realized instantly that this was a well-worn toy, not a brand new toy from the shelf of the store.  With her elaborate story, it was clear that she had taken the toy from her friend’s house with every intention of claiming it as her own.

Because she had not only stolen the toy, but had taken the time to think up such a cover-up story to hide her deeds, we knew we had to punish her in a way that she would remember.  For stealing, she had to give the toy back in person, and give away 3 of her very own toys to people who did not have as many as her; and because of the lie, she was grounded from playing with the toys she had left.

Reading this verse about the consequences of adultery reminded me of the consequences she faced.  A marriage is an investment.  We do labor in a marriage.  We give hours, months, and years of our time to our spouse.  We build our houses together, and spend our money on new counter tops or lighting fixtures.  As a couple, we have friendships with other couples.  Maybe we even have a ministry within the church.

We risk losing all that we’ve built when we commit adultery.  Like my daughter, who had to give away some of her own things when she stole from someone.  When we take something that is not ours, in adultery, we risk losing what we have built within our marriage.  All the time we’ve invested into our spouses is now hard to remember, or now seems like a lie.  The houses and “nests” we’ve built with our spouse may be lost to us, given to another, or just sold to settle accounts.

Stealing from her friend, my daughter also risked losing that friendship, due to lack of trust.  The same can happen with our friendships if we risk adultery.  We may even lose our ministries.

The warning in this verse is very clear and very real.  Why allow someone else to gain what you’ve invested in?  We don’t need to invest in or claim things that don’t belong to us.  We must treasure what we have, care for it, invest more into it, and allow the rewards to multiply.  The gain we experience will be exponential and eternal.  🙂

Investing,

jamie

Wake up and eat…for heaven’s sake.

John 6:48:  “I am the bread of life.”

John 6:35:  “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Pr. 24:30-34:  ” I went by the filed of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there is was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down.  When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction.  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.”

Pr. 20:13: “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty.  Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.”

Get up!  Spend time with Jesus each morning.  Be filled with “The Bread” of Life!

Both of the scriptures in Proverbs speak of poverty…I read them to also speak of poverty of the soul.  A little extra sleep in the morning; laziness keeping us from getting out of bed to spend time with The Lord, and poverty will quickly come upon our souls.  We will quickly become devoid of understanding, thorns will quickly spread upon our hearts and nettles will choke out the fruit of The Spirit within us.  A little extra slumber and we will become broken, believing lies instead of truth, exchanging the truth about our strength in The Lord with the enemy’s deceiving lies about our weaknesses.

If we will open our eyes, we will truly be satisfied with bread.  We will be strengthened instead of broken.  We will become pure through His blood.  We will be set free, instead of pierced with the thorns that come from feeding our flesh.  We will be filled with wisdom, instead of drained of all understanding.  The fruit of The Spirit will be evident in us instead of being choked out by the nettles of the fruit of our own ways.  Our souls will be rich and overflowing instead of destitute hungry.

Don’t allow poverty to overtake your soul like an armed man overtakes a victim.  Amass an arsenal of truth.  Stockpile praise as a wall of defense.  Protect yourself at all costs.  Invest in your soul.  Invest in your eternal life.  This investment is a guaranteed success!

Stockpiling,

jamie