What would you consider to be your best investment? For some it is a portfolio of blue-chip stocks or solid bonds that have a good rate of return. These will undergo long-term, financial growth and provide a comfortable retirement. For others it is a home they purchased at pennies on a dollar. This will be “flipped” after doing some quick and relatively inexpensive upgrades. The increase in property value will net a hefty profit for the sellers in a very short time.
There is no doubt that these are both time-tested ways to invest your time and money in order to secure the future for yourself. That being said, the question I have for you is a relatively simple one, and few ever ask it. When all is said and done, and you are nearing your last days, will you be filled with a sense of deep, rich satisfaction from all your investments? For many, the answer is no!
Several years ago I began to consider this very thing. I asked myself a question and the answer I had to face was quite disturbing. What am I investing in and is it really bringing me satisfaction? The conclusion I came up with told me in no uncertain terms that it was time for a change. I felt a great void within as I began to examine how my investment choices were impacting me, and those around me. In other words, I got the shock of my life when I realized my best investment was not in a promising stock or a 401-k. My best investment was never into my own life. It was and always had been into the lives of others!
This weekend I received the amazing dividends that come from this kind of “other-centered” investment. My wife and I are frequently asked to do outside ministry. We are called upon by other pastors and leave our own church to minister in theirs. This past Saturday and Sunday is one such example. We were gone from our home church and went to Ticonderoga, in upstate NY. For two meetings several churches gathered in hopes of developing their vision and fuel their hunger to go deeper into a more Spirit-lead kind of worship. For two other meetings my wife and I preached and did prophetic ministry over many who came.
In order to do the above, two other things had to happen first. To begin with, we had to have someone minister in our own church on Sunday. Secondly, I asked the worship team from our church join us on Saturday, so we could demonstrate the things I would be teaching. These were possible for one reason only. My wife and I had taken the time to invest our lives and hearts in our spiritual sons and daughters. I can tell you with an absolute certainty that we were not disappointed.
The reports that we received from both places were wonderful. Those who came with us learned how to connect with other churches and how to help other worship teams go deeper. Those who did the Sunday morning service at our home church also did a fantastic job in our absence. Talk about a proud moment for dad and mom! Our investment had paid off in a big way and it will continue to do so for generations to come. In other words we have made a difference and we are feeling very satisfied.
If you are going through personal re-evaluation and you are wondering about your investments, this might be one place to start. What kind of return are you getting, and is it the kind you really want? If you don’t like your answer, then take heart in the realization that it’s never too late to start a new investment strategy. Begin to pour into the lives of those around you who are teachable. Encourage and water those who are growing under your care. Mentor and support those who are following in your foot steps. If you do, you will see what we have. You will behold the future unfolding before your eyes and that vision brings a satisfaction no money can buy, and no stock market crash can take. For us, this will always be the best investment!