We each possess a limited amount of time, energy, or resources. Today, let’s explore key strategies to investing wisely all God has given to us.
When I move from this life to my heavenly home, I don’t want to “leave anything on the table.” In other words, I want to take full advantage of every opportunity ahead.
In a recent dream, a small group of people sat in my kitchen, waiting to be served. Their bodies spilling limply over the chairs they sat upon. Another small group of people, I was supposed to be leading, were in a side room studying the Bible. The largest group of people patiently waited outside my kitchen window — the neglected, rejected, and dejected.
The kitchen group consumed all my time. They smelled the two turkeys roasting in the oven — ready to pounce on the choicest portions. One person even purposely spilled her drink on the floor as she looked out the window, rudely ridiculing those outside. I bent down, cleaning up after her.
Scooting off to the side room, I checked on the ladies who were studying the Word and sharing their discoveries with each other. The atmosphere was joyous and energized.
Returning to the kitchen, I looked in my cupboard for something to feed the crowd outside until the turkey could be served. The cupboard was bare! “Who ate all these?” I asked those lounging like lazy lions in the kitchen. No one responded.
Those outside my door began to drift away, leaving as hungry as they had come.
It was a God-dream packed with meaning.
God speaks in many ways. Through the dream, He called me to evaluate carefully where and how I invest my time, energy, resources, and influence. Like in my dream, it is often the things that return the least that demand the most from us.
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
2 Timothy 2:2
Paul speaks of four generations of investment in this verse. He taught Timothy by word and example. The things he invested in young Timothy and many others, he asks Timothy to now invest in “reliable people.” The word for “entrust” also means “to deliver, deposit, or teach.” Paul is talking investment terms!
He tells Timothy to choose reliable, objective, trustworthy, faithful, believing people to invest in — people prepared and ready to pass the investment on to others.
Paul’s example with Timothy leads us to the first key strategy to investing wisely.
#1 – Set a Goal
Goals establish clarity and purpose. Do we know our God-given purpose? What do we desire to accomplish with the limited and temporary resources we have?
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
An eternity mindset brings even temporary goals into alignment. Our business portfolio, scholastic achievements, awards, and accolades won’t matter when we give an account to God for what we have done with our lives.
Jesus told a parable of three individuals each given different talents “each according to his ability” (Matthew 25:15). When the master returned, each person gave an account of how they invested what they were given. One unfortunate fellow resembled those in my kitchen — taking what he could but failing to pass anything on.
Whatever talent, ability, or resource we have ultimately came from God. When we possess an eternal mindset, we recognize ourselves as stewards given a trust. As we keep eternal perspective, we gain wisdom to handle, multiply, and use temporary things for eternal purposes.
#2 – Measure the Investment
For investing wisely, we need the second strategy, as well. With goals aimed toward eternity, how much are we willing to invest toward individual significant areas?
My bank account and day planner reveal the real story of where my chosen investments lay. These two areas in particular, time and resources, measure my investment in individuals and communities.
In John 6 we find an revealing progression. Jesus supernaturally fed 5,000 men, plus women and children, using only a boy’s small lunch. The next day, Jesus confronts the same people who continued to follow Him.
“Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
They weren’t following Jesus because they believed in Him. They followed Him for what they could get from Him.
Jesus began to teach such difficult things that all but a few grumbled about Him and quarrelled with Him. The crowd saw Jesus as their free meal ticket. Jesus would have nothing to do such slothful behavior!
Jesus set the example in how to invest wisely. We should prayerfully consider how much to invest in any specific person or people group, without creating similar codependency.
#3 – Choose Where to Invest
Some people will monopolize our time and drain all our resources. Yet others will legitimately need intense short-term investment to successfully launch into a healthy life pathway.
Newborn babies demand undivided attention and care. We don’t “baby” any natural or spiritual children forever though. They must learn to feed themselves, dress themselves, manage their own resources, and care for others. It would be abnormal for any infant to remain an infant.
Yet we find spiritually under-developed Christians everywhere.
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!”
Once we set our goal for eternal benefits and God has shown how much to invest, now we seek His wisdom for the specific where, who, and even how on His heart. We ask Him to lead us to those who will grow and take personal responsibility for their development.
“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 1:8
Increasing measure speaks of normal spiritual growth and development.
#4 – Begin
Strategies begin to work when we implement them. The implementation will be fluid, developing more fully as we go.
In my dream, I needed to lovingly move those inside to the outside to make room for those outside to find a place of acceptance and care. As long as I allowed a few people to consume all my time and resources, I had nothing left for those who needed it the most.
God calls us to love everyone without showing preference. Jesus longs for those outside His family to enjoy His blessings too. We accomplish this through investing wisely where there will be the greatest eternal returns.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Where do we begin? We begin with the one in front of us — the one just outside our window, the one we see every day, the one needing encouragement and support, or even the one needing a tougher kind of love.
#5 – Try, Test, Tweak
As we invest, we listen for God’s continued direction. Hopefully, you don’t need such a vivid dream to wake you up to your need to tweak how you invest your time and resources.
As we invest in others, we measure the results. Is there evidence of fruit or signs of transformation in the lives of those around us? Are godly attributes increasing in those we are investing in?
“This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:13 (NLT)
Sometimes the results will be less obvious than at other times. Each area of trying, testing, and tweaking takes a special courage that God promises to provide. I am so very thankful for those who invested so much into my life. I’m sure they wanted to quit many times over, but they didn’t!
May our investments prove eternally beneficial, reproducing in multiplied measure.
Blessings my friend, as we invest into our homes, churches, and communities.
Let’s begin investing wisely!