The first thing most people think of after hearing the word investing is likely what you can do with money you have earned by putting it in a savings account, IRA, 401k, stock market, etc in an attempt to earn interest or allow your money to make more money. While interest rates on savings accounts have been lackluster lately (I think I earned $1.50 on one account this past year), most people have several options as to where to invest their money. Some consider short term investing in the stock market as a form of gambling, as you may just as easily lose stock value as you could make gains. Some may consider investing in something more tangible, such as your own house or a rental property, by making improvements and seeking to gain value and increased return with time. There are many ‘things’ we can purchase, hoping they will increase in value, but in the end, what is the purpose of these things or a big pile of money in a bank account?
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10
Here is a short list of some good investments I have made, or maybe they are just things that turned out to be good ‘values’. I bought a shop vac for $5 at a garage sale over 10 years ago, and though it has lost its wheels, which sucks, I have removed hundreds of gallons of fluid and filth with this thing, and it is still going strong. I also purchased an 86 Ford F150 about 12 years ago at an auction for $450 and though not a parade-worthy truck, this has proven helpful more than once over the years. We all probably have made some solid investments and gotten some good values over the years, but are we just as willing to talk about our bad investments, or endeavors which cost us more than we bargained for? When I was in High School, I scrapped together several hundred dollars for some company to put together a folder with a drawing and rudimentary summary of an invention idea that I had. The next step was several thousand dollars, which I decided not to pursue at the time. There have been several other places where money was spent that I later regretted. We all could probably come up with lists for each. These experiences probably teach us as much about where to invest our resources as what not to do.
Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken. The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Proverbs 22:8-9
Besides money, what other resources do you have that you could invest into a variety of places or things? We can invest in educating ourselves or others, spend time in ministry to children or adults from all walks of life, or volunteer and serve others through a variety of organizations or causes. Where you spend your time, your talents and abilities, and your money all give an indication as to the condition of your heart and what you value most in life. When we choose to sit in front of the TV instead of catching up with our family or friends, what we value most at that time is evident to everyone. When we spend hundreds of dollars on our hobby and complain about giving ten dollars to someone in need, our priorities may be out of balance. When our words are harsh and critical, we are just expressing the inward condition of our hearts, which may be more difficult for us to see than for others. What you value most is expressed in your words and actions throughout the day, not just at church or where you work.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
Sometime this week, take an inventory of some good and bad investments you have made over the years. Has that changed your view of the value you place on things, or your time? What kind of returns would you like to see when you invest your resources? Where do you feel God is calling you to change in where you give your resources? Sometimes simply asking God to show you where your heart is in what you are doing is a good practice to check your motives and re-direct your path when necessary. Don’t be afraid to also ask others who know you well what they think about how you spend your talents and resources, and what most motivates you to action. Next week we will dig a little deeper as we look at where God calls us to invest our resources.
Strength and Courage in Christ,