5 Sep 2014
The Stock Market is currently near its all time high and yet many find it difficult to find good strong yielding investments in order to provide financial security in the future. And in the midst of this lack of return on investment it is easy to become blinded to the highest yielding investment available for time and eternity.
If we can agree that we are pilgrims and this is not our eternal home. And if we can concur that we are planning to spend our real retirement years in the worship of our God in the paradise that He has provided for His faithful followers. Then we must carefully consider the time and energy and finances we are investing in serving, worshipping, and striving to bring God glory. As these are no doubt the best investments available to mankind.
Yet we often seem to be blinded to the opportunities to invest in the heavenly “stock market” by the things of this world. Paul who apparently had in some manner the opportunity to get a glimpse of that which God will someday provide gives us this perspective:
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NASB95)
17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
Please reread Paul’s statement above from the perspective of an investment. Consider that the momentary light affliction is the investment and it is the means that produces the eternal weight of glory far beyond comparison, the investment yield. Paul is telling us that what we invest will not even be on the same scale as the return!
Again in the book of Romans Paul repeats his perspective:
Romans 8:18 (NASB95)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Jesus gave us this instruction:
John 6:27 (AMP)
27 Stop toiling and doing and producing for the food that perishes and decomposes [in the using], but strive and work and produce rather for the [lasting] food which endures [continually] unto life eternal; the Son of Man will give (furnish) you that, for God the Father has authorized and certified Him and put His seal of endorsement upon Him.
As in all things we must turn to the Truth, the Word of God to find our direction. Let’s examine together God’s Word in the Gospel of John.
John 15:16a (AMP)
16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide],
Here we see our purpose is to bear fruit.[those thoughts and acts that glorify God] Jesus uses the allegory of a fruit bearing plant to picture the return on investment He desires, demands, and will provide. This year we planted two tomato plants. They have grown very large and are in the midst of producing fruit. Each of these plants came from a single seed yet every tomato they produce contains probably a hundred seeds, and these plants will no doubt produce fifty to one hundred tomatoes. This is multiplied return on investment.
Someone placed one seed in the ground and God gave the increase. Notice that the Amplified Bible translation above, using an indication from the form of the Greek verb, translates keep on bearing fruit! Imagine a tomato plant that would live thirty years and keep on bearing fruit year around. Now we are getting near to the kind of return that Jesus desires to provide from our investments. Jesus not only desires that we bear fruit continually but that the fruit we bear will remain.
To make an investment we must give up something (the thing invested) such that it can yield a return. Like the farmer who must give up some of his corn by planting it in the ground with the expectation of finding a returning yield of perhaps one to two hundred times what was planted. So what is it that we must give up (put into the ground) in order to bear fruit?
While no doubt many books could be written on this subject it should be apparent to a seriously thoughtful person that the two most valuable things they possess are their time and their attention. The more valuable the essence of what we give up the more valuable will be the multiplied return. So how shall we invest our time and our attention for enormous eternal and temporal returns?
First we propose that since God is primarily interested in the attitudes of our hearts, it is clear that our time will only be counted as an excellent investment when we have our heart attention centered upon God. So we see that what we must plant in the ground is our time; but it is only the time that has God at its center that will yield a bountiful return. So in a practical sense what are some ways we can “plant time” that will yield bountiful returns?
We can invest our time to increase our faith. We can invest our time to increase our love of God and others. We can invest our time to increase or develop our obedience to make disciples. We can invest our time growing hope, our own and also others. We can invest time in prayer, in praise, in worship, in sharing, in fellowship, or in many other activities; however, the hinge pin is the nature of our heart’s attention. Is the center of my attention on God and others or is it on me? Where the center is, is where I abide.
John 15:4-5 (NASB95)
4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Is not abiding in Jesus, focusing our time and attention to hope in Him to love Him, trust Him, and obey Him? How much time and attention are you wasting abiding in self, focused on things that will bring no temporal or eternal return? Abiding in Jesus is the only “ground” where abundant returns will grow.
John 15:8-11 (NASB95)
8 "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
9 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
11 "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
True abiding will always entail obeying, will not fail to bring glory to God and will always fill our personal joy cup to the full!
“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” - Jim Elliot
The dynamic advantage of spiritual investments: they yield great rewards in this life and multiples of these vast rewards for all eternity!
Make a personal time map of one week. Look for wasted time, time that could be invested to foster love or faith or hope or obedience. Personal revival takes place when we wholly submit our time and our heart’s attention to the will and plan of God. For this we were instructed to pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Ask God to give you His personal prescription regarding the use of your newly available time. This is a prayer, when you pray it sincerely and pre-committed your obedience to God's answers will be heard and answered by God. He has been waiting for you to ask!