A Lucrative Investment
by Lynn "lynnibug" Rios on September 15th, 2012
What defines a lucrative investment?
Professionals agree that with any investment there is a certain amount of risk. Generally, the lower risk investment yields a lower and slower return. Conversely, the higher the risk, the higher the potential gain or lose. Conservative investors that start early in life may consider a lucrative investment to be the long term safe investment that can, over time, amass some tidy profits. Those willing to take huge risks will either end up losing it all or become insanely wealthy. They are the ones that understand a safe investment has limited potential and so they seek out innovative opportunities with massive potential, while they are undervalued because the majority of investors just can’t “see it”.
Just as we traverse the financial precipice making choices by what we are willing to risk, we also have social and spiritual choices to make that involve risk. Alucrative investment in the social sense might be one that allows you to meet and greet the movers and shakers of your community or industry in hopes that their influence would reflect favorably on you. What is the risk? When swimming in the pond with the big fish, be prepared to swallow your pride and be treated by some as the little fish that you are. Other forms of a socially lucrative investment could be recycling (little to no risk with benefits dependent upon how many others make the investment), or even adopting a pet (they may chew on the furniture and mess on the carpet but offer unconditional love). The bottom line is that any lucrative investment results in ROI (return on investment). It could be money or influence, a cleaner environment, or it could be affection or security, all tangible and measurable returns.
When we speak of spiritual investment, everything becomes a bit less tangible, and difficult if not impossible to measure. What would the ROI of a lucrative investment spiritually look like? How high is the risk and how great the potential return, and what is the risk of making no investment at all?
By looking at these things we can evaluate if the spiritual investment we are making truly is a lucrative investment.
So what exactly is a spiritual investment? It is giving our time, our talent and our treasure to others AND to God, and its ROI can only be calculated using the biblical concept of sowing and reaping. Rick Warren breaks the concept down this way:
There are three things the bible says about sowing and reaping:
1. Whatever you sow, you are going to reap. If you sow criticism, people are going to criticize you. If you sow gossip, people are going to gossip about you. Whatever you sow in life, you are going to reap it back. Count on it. The good news is, this works in positive terms too. Give it to God and watch his blessings flow onto others and back to you.
2. You will reap more than you sow every time. A farmer who plants one kernel of corn in the ground will get a stalk with eight or nine ears that have 100 to 200 corn kernels each.
3. You always reap in a different season than you sowed. You sow in one season and then you reap the benefit in another season. You can go plant a seed today, dig it up tomorrow, and there will be no difference. But if you let it settle, slowly it will grow and produce. That’s the faith portion of the waiting period in God’s economy.
How big a harvest do you want to see in your life? It’s up to you. God says, “According to your faith will it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29 NIV).
So if we want it to be a lucrative investment, we can’t give it a half-hearted effort.
We must make it with joy and expectation… faith. When it comes to spiritual investment, the cautious, who give little of their time, talent, and treasure will never experience that deep and intimate walk with God they long for. Matthew 25:14-30 (The Parable of the Talents) teaches us that we are not the true owners of what we possess. According to this parable we are stewards, caretakers, or managers of that which belongs to another, specifically God. When we grip our possessions too tightly, there is little or no sowing taking place. Where nothing is sown there will be nothing to reap.
Those who make their spiritual investment with their all will reap a bountiful harvest. They sow a generous portion of the blessings they have received into the kingdom of God, the source of all blessings, and they do this with joy. The time that they spend in the Word of God develops a deep and intimate relationship with Him, building both faith and trust. Even if they do not become wealthy in this life, they will always have everything they need. They take a great risk in terms of worldly standards. They may be mocked, tortured, or killed for their faith in some parts of the world. They will do without so that others can have. They will do for others rather than lavish luxuries on themselves. They will be outcasts in the material world so many strive to be successful in, BUT they know who they belong to, and where they are going. They have the promise of eternal life with God the Father in heaven. By all definitions, that would be a lucrative investment.
John 12:24-26 (NKJV)
24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Read that again if did not sink all the way in… the ultimate payoff, to be honored by God.
On the flip side, the biggest risk is likely making no spiritual investment at all. If you are on my blog reading this I would expect that does not describe you, but it may describe someone you know. We hear a lot about preaching the gospel, sharing the good news, and leading the lost to accept Christ in our “church circles”. Sometimes it seems like there is a giant scorecard counting conversions as if that it all that matters. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it doesn’t matter, but it is not the only thing that matters.
I want to challenge you to make a lucrative investment today. Make a spiritual investment into someone you know by helping them to understand how God’s economy works. Help them to understand the concept of sowing and reaping, and then pray with them that God would provide them a seed to sow and fertile ground in which to sow it. Stand with them in faith during their season of waiting, and rejoice with them when God provides an abundant harvest.
Malachi 3:10 (NKJV)
10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”