In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a story of a man who, going on a journey, entrusts all he owns to his servants. He gives most of it to one, a smaller portion to another and to a third he gives the smallest portion. The first works hard investing all he’s been given and doubles the investment. The second does the same. The third allows his personal concerns and fear to determine his actions and locks away everything the man entrusted to him. The man comes back and sees how the first two have increased his fortune by their hard work and expresses his delight by praising and promoting them. He chastises the third and fires him for not even safely investing his smallest portion in a low-yield savings account. Okay, so I took a few creative liberties, but if you read it yourself, you’ll find I’m not that far off.
Very soon we will be feasting on way too much food in celebration of all the blessings we so often take for granted. According to the Global Rich List, if your income is at least $32,400 (net annual salary plus benefits, pension, and student loan) you are in the top 1% wealthiest people on the planet, so it’s safe to say that we have plenty to be thankful for! But like the workers in the story, we don’t own our wealth. We are stewards of God’s riches which he has left in our care. Everything we possess, all our skills and abilities, every last breath and tick of the clock belongs to him and is only ours to care for wisely until we see him again.
Some day we’re going to have the opportunity to tell him how we invested the gifts he bestowed on us. We’re going to have a few success stories but if you are like me, most likely you are going to have a lot of times when…well let’s just say—the market crashed. And we had to pick ourselves up again and start over and that is going to mean a lot to him. So this November, I’m taking stock of all the wondrous gifts he’s put in my charge and being thankful by investing those gifts in the reaching out to others in his name.
As I was pondering all of this I realized that I’ve seen so many people giving me examples of how to do this and do it well. Here are some of those examples:
- A nurse who developed a chronic, sometimes debilitating disease, can no longer work because of her illness. She started an after-hospital care ministry at her church in which she calls/visits people that first week after they are discharged from the hospital to make sure they have everything they need and often uses her medical knowledge to help in their recovery.
- A print shop owner provides all the paper his church uses as part of his tithe.
- A man who enjoys woodworking makes beautiful doll beds and his wife makes sheets, pillowcases and quilts for the bed. They got together with a couple who buy American Girl dolls and doll clothes which they then give to underprivileged girls at Christmas. They also provide $100 per brother so the parents can make sure the boys also have a happy Christmas morning.
- A quilt shop owner provides free community service quilt kits for people to sew quilt tops and return and holds community service days at her shop several times a year where quilts are finished and stuffed bears are made to give to community outreach programs and hospitals.
- When a successful business owner retired, he became the business manager of his church.
- A retired couple offer rides to medical appointments to those who need a ride or just need company.
- A woman who enjoys quilting makes and donates quilts to charity organizations to auction off.
So many wonderful examples of how to invest and increase what God has given. So what has God given you and me? And how can we invest it for his glory?