As we’ve set out on our journey to make the most of our lives and to enjoy everything God has in store for us, we’ve covered a lot of ground. We’ve talked about making better use of our time. We’ve discussed transforming how we think (and what we think about). We’ve seen the danger of falling for the poor substitutes — the wooden nickels — the enemy would love to get us to accept, and we’ve given some thought to what real spiritual growth looks like.
In each of these areas of our lives, our choices make a tremendous difference. When we choose to do things God’s way, things eventually work out. Not always at once, and definitely not always the way we think they should; but, God makes a way. When we trust and obey, God will do far more than we can imagine.
Trust and obey… with our time, talents, and our treasure.
Uh oh. I don’t mind so much when God asks for my time. I’m happy to use my talents to help out at church, but my treasure? That’s another story.
Why is that? Why do we get so nervous when the Pastor starts talking about money on Sunday mornings? I really think we tend to get twisted around the axle on this one when we don’t need to. God doesn’t need my money to repave the streets of gold, ok?
Quite the opposite, in fact. Every good blessing I have, every scrap of possessions I call my own, everything I ever earned in this life — He provided. He gave me the talents I use to accomplish my work, He helped me become the person I am, today, and He sustains me each day; so, I wouldn’t have anything without Him.
You might say He invested in me.
I get into to trouble when I confuse ownership with stewardship. God owns it all, but He’s entrusted some of it to me. He expects me to be a good steward, or caretaker, of His gifts to me. My time, talent, and treasure are really His time, talents, and treasure.
Like any good investor, God is watching to see what return on His investment will result from what we do with what we’ve been given. Will we give up something of lesser value for something worth more? To do that, we have to know the difference. If we’re supposed to be investing what we’ve been given, we really need to understand what God wants in return.
Fortunately, we have a great example to follow in Christ. If we examine His investment portfolio in the gospels, what do we find? People. He invested everything He had in the people around Him. He spent His life on their behalf, ministering to their needs, healing their hurts, and helping them grow closer to God.
I’m not saying, as some would suggest, that we must give every dollar we can to a church and live under a vow of poverty. I am saying, if we choose wisely, our investments could benefit more than just ourselves.
Yes, how we choose to spend our money is a part of that good stewardship; but, how we use what we’ve already spent makes quite the difference, too.
Do you have a nice home? Great! There’s nothing wrong with having a nice home. Nothing. I do have a question, though: can you imagine a way to use that home to minister to others? Something as simple as inviting others over to build relationships would be a great start. Hosting a Bible study or offering a guest room to someone in need are just a couple of ways we can invest.
Do you have a nice car? Excellent! I’m convinced God wants you to enjoy whatever blessings He has provided. Could you enjoy it and find a way to use it to help someone: to bring someone to church, deliver meals or run errands for a shut-in?
We can look for ways to use all the great stuff we have to invest in people, and when they see what God has done through us, they can give glory to God and we can reap an eternal reward — their presence in Heaven. What can we take with us when we leave this life? Only the people we invite to join us there.
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
I wonder how much we can accomplish if we look for opportunities to share what we have been given with others? The stuff I’ve accumulated? It’ll be gone tomorrow. The people I invest in? They are an eternal dividend.