February 18, 2010
Making Wise Investments
Ecclesiastes 11:1(NCV) "Invest what you have, because after a while you will get a return."
Friend To Friend
The recent earthquake in Haiti has left millions of people homeless and without hope. Entire families have been wiped out and thousands of children have been left with no parents or family. Lifeless bodies line the streets as a devastated people desperately try to survive
The investments that we make in life determine the level of contentment that we gain from life. We come into this world as self-centered beings, concerned solely with our needs and wants. Only a personal relationship with Christ can truly change that egotistical human bent. Even unbelievers attempting to soothe a troubled and unfulfilled heart invest their time and resources in charities or service organizations. They are trying to gain life from dead things. It is simply not possible. Unfortunately, many followers of Jesus Christ have not yet learned the spiritual principle that you cannot "out-give" God! We falsely assume ownership of the gifts God has given us to manage on His behalf.
The story is told of a little boy who lived in a ghetto. Because of his strong belief in God, the little boy was constantly teased by his friends. They taunted him saying, "If God loves you, why doesn't he take care of you? Why doesn't God tell someone to bring you shoes or send someone with a warm coat? Where is the good food you've been asking God for?" The little boy faced his critics, thought for a moment and with tears in his eyes, softly said, "I guess He does tell somebody but somebody forgets."
We forget! We forget the wonder of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross and how He served and now calls us to serve. And because of that precious gift, that eternal investment of love made by Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary, you and I are redeemed from Hell itself. In response to God's love, the apostle Paul gave his life in service to God, finding his greatest joy in simply doing what God told him to do. Before he encountered Christ, Paul had been a man of great influence and power but as a follower of Jesus Christ the highest title he ever gave himself was "servant."
It is important to note that Paul was first a servant - then an apostle set apart for the gospel. The people he served became his family and in turn served him by praying for him, encouraging him and meeting his physical needs. Service is not an option for the Christian. It is a command - a holy calling and the ultimate joy. The most contented people I know are the ones who serve the most. They have found an outlet for giving, have discovered their God given gifts and are using them to serve God. It is a paradox in the Christian life that the more we give the more we receive and the greater our level of contentment. When we turn inward and become focused on self, discontentment creeps in and takes up residence.
The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are made of the same water that flows from Mt. Hermon. The Sea of Galilee is a beautiful place, lush and green, because it has an outlet as it gathers in its riches then pours them out again to fertilize the Jordan plain. It gives. On the other hand, the Dead Sea, with the same water creates destruction because it has no outlet. It keeps.
The highest purpose in life is to be used by God to impact the lives of others. We often think that God reserves service for those called "ministers." Every follower of God is called to be a minister. Your mission field is your home - your office - your neighborhood and your world. If you want to discover the secret of contentment, look for opportunities to make investments in others by giving yourself away. Every act of service is a deposit in eternity and a wise investment.
Lord, I recognize You as my source of contentment. I love You and want to serve You. Today, I will look for opportunities to make eternal Kingdom investments. Thank You for loving me and giving me the privilege of serving You.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Consider the following questions:
· Who has made eternal investments in my life?
· What is my perception of service?
· What are my spiritual gifts?
· How can I use those gifts to serve others?
· What are the benefits of serving God and others?
Contentment is found when I invest myself in others. There are "mission fields" in my life where I can serve Him by serving others. I choose today to become a "giver" instead of a "keeper."
Memorize the two following verses:
Matthew 20:28 (NLT) "For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many."
Galatians 5:13 (NCV) "My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with love."
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Originally published Thursday, 18 February 2010.