The First in a Series of Investment Discussions
As we approach spring, it is customary for us to take stock in ourselves and our environments. We begin our spring cleaning schedules; we make efforts to become more active, more health-conscious, etc. Let’s not stop there, let’s take stock in our affairs in the Kingdom of God. How about we look at it from a perspective related to investments?
What or who are we invested in? Who or what is invested in us?
Why do we even care about investments?
What does the Kingdom of God have to do with investments?
I’m sure you are asking what in the world does investments have to do with the Kingdom of God. Well let’s see.
In what (or whom) are we invested?
Why does it matter in what (or whom) we’re invested?
It matters because investments take place in the heart. For where your treasure is there will your heart be also (Matt 6:21 KJV paraphrased). Not only will your heart be where your investments/treasures are; it is the heart that drives investments. Your investments discover, to all, what is in your heart. How and where you spend your time, energy, money, and other resources speak volumes about what is important to you.
The object of your investment (mutual funds; stocks; your career; your family, yourself, etc.) is important. But more importantly, it is the motive for your investments that is telling. As you know (or will come to appreciate) motive is everything, especially in the Kingdom of God. We are defined, judged and rewarded by our motives. That is why the scriptures teach us that we are obligated to guard our hearts, diligently.
Who or what is invested in you?
Perhaps the first people who come to mind (when we consider who is invested in us) are our parents; or our spouses. Perhaps we were fortunate enough to have teachers, coaches, friends, and other family members who were invested in us. We know these people are invested because they care about our welfare, our hopes and dreams, our successes, etc. It is natural for us to be partial to people who are invested in us. How worthy we are of investment will determine who are our friends and associates. I would assume that just about everyone would fancy having their very own, personal fan club.
Should we care about investments?
Aren’t investments strictly the concern of Wall Street, corporate entities, governments, fund managers and financial institutions? Why would any of this matter to us and our relationship with of God? It matters because whatever you invest in represents a thing of value to you. Whoever invests in you shows that they value you.
In business investments, the rule is to ensure that whatever the company selects as an investment vehicle must bring a certain net Return on Investment (ROI).
I know … I know … this is not a class in Finance. News flash, life is a class in investments. We make investments every single day, with our time and other resources. In the Kingdom both the object and motive of our investments will affect our ROI. Our investments will deliver a net ROI (whether positive or negative). This is not optional. The laws are set, in this regard.
We need to care about our investments because they shape our quality of life; our happiness; our health and well-being; and our relationship with God. Our investments matter because they tell everyone what is in our heart. Often our mouths try to tell a different story. But when words and works conflict, a picture is worth a thousand words. One needs simply to see what we invest in, to determine what’s valuable to us.
I can hear it now. Who cares what other people think about our investments? Good question. Who does care what other people think about your investments? God does.
What does the Kingdom of God have to do with investments?
Our investments tell God on what we place importance. He cares about what our investments tell Him (and others) about WHO is important to us. And order of importance is significant. He cares what our investments say about how important He is to us. Our confessions tell the world, around us, that we are Christians; and that
we love God. But often our investments prove otherwise. Just as our attire, demeanor, behavior affect how we represent our employer. Likewise, our character, language, motives, and actions all affect how we represent the Kingdom. Do you think these matters to God? Of course, they do.
God has His own schedule of investments. There are certain things that are important to Him; certain people and situations that He is invested in. Say what? Someone told you that everyone was of equal importance to God? To some degree, we are as important to God, as He is to us.
Another reason that God wants to know what you are invested in, is because it affects the priority of His investments. Really…it does. The order of our investments affects the order of His investments.
Hopefully, this doesn’t blow your theory right out of the water. For some strange reason, it seems as if we have been socialized (or tricked) into thinking that we are more important to God, than He is to us. Somehow, we seem to believe that we can have certain expectations of God; where we’ve made no investment in Him. This assumption is amazing, because that “line of reasoning” doesn’t hold true anywhere else in creation (or business for that matter). Try that with your bank. Go ahead. Open an account with $100. Leave it there for three (3) months. Then write a check for $1,000, take it to the bank teller and try to cash it. Exactly how long, in hours (or days), would you have to stand there before they cash that check for you? I venture to say that your grandchildren’s grandchildren will be opening bank accounts of their very own, before a bank cashes a $1,000 check written against an account with $100 in it. I’m sorry for that diversion; let me get back on track here.
What the Lord is saying to us is that He has made investments in us, namely Jesus Christ. This is His way of showing that He values us. But every worthy investment must have a favorable return; or wisdom would require that no further such investments be made. What is our return on God’s investment in us?
This series on Kingdom Investments will continue in the next Edition.
Motive, according to Webster’s dictionary, is something (a need or desire) that causes a person to act or take action. Motives, in a more universal sense, are the “why” behind our actions.
Why did we say what we said? Why did we do what we did?
Motives govern our behaviors, our attitudes, and our intentions; whether or not we recognize them.
When the scriptures speak to us about our motives, it talks to us about our heart. Our motives are determined by the condition of our heart. If our heart is deceived or deceitful, our motives will be selfish and covert. If our heart is governed by integrity, our motives will represent love and honor for God and a mutual respect for mankind.
We are directed to diligently govern the condition of our heart, because our life flows from our heart. (Proverbs 4:23 KJV paraphrased)
An interesting thing about motives is that, in many cases, the only persons who can discern motives are God and the individual. Two people can donate a large sum to a charitable effort. The one contributes because it is a tax write-off. The other contributes because the scripture says that the “strong ought to
bear the infirmities of the weak.” (Rom. 15:1-3 KJV paraphrased)
We are obliged to know the motives that dictate our actions, because we are accountable to God for them. If everything we do, somehow resolves itself in bringing pleasure or comfort to us, our motives are selfish. When the scriptures tell us that we shall all
be held accountable for our actions, it means that our
motives will be judged and we will be rewarded accordingly.
Once again, it is vital that we use the same rule of measurement that God uses in judging our motives.
Our motives aren’t acceptable, because we manage to justify them to ourselves and others.
The Lord’s perception of a situation is not the same as our perception of a situation. We judge according
to what we see or perceive; but God judges the heart (motive).
I used to think, that as long as I understood the “rules of engagement” I would be fine. Just tell me how I’m supposed to act then I can handle it from there. But I soon learned that you can’t fake motive. And that a right motive does not happen overnight. And it cannot be created by positive thinking,
A right motive comes when we surrender our hearts to God. It comes when we accept the gift of salvation, through Christ Jesus. When we study the scriptures, to understand the things that God expects from us and then do them. When we understand how God has made all of this easily accessible to us, through faith. These are the humble beginnings of a heart filled with right motives. And a life filled with peace with God. ◆◆◆