Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Matthew 6:19
If you were asked, “What do you invest in?” I suspect that you would mention stocks, bonds, real estate, or perhaps precious metals. Or you might say, “You’ve got to be kidding. We’re fortunate to have enough to buy rice and fish for dinner tonight!”
In answering that question about what you invest in, almost always the focus is on tangibles–money. And I freely acknowledge that in a time of economic flux, knowing where to put your extra cash, if you are fortunate enough to have any, is a challenge. Yet money is only a small part of what you invest. I put it under the heading of resources which God has placed in your hands, and you have to do something with them; however, that’s only part of what you invest.
There are two other commodities which you invest, ones which most people give little, if any, thought to. They are your abilities or talents, and your time! Now, there are many inequities in life when it comes to the amount of resources you control.
Many people in the world–the vast majority–have no money to invest. They eke out a living day by day. They have no need of a large freezer because they go to the market in the morning, buy what they need for the day, and do the same thing the next morning. There are few coins left at the end of the week to invest in anything.
Some come into the world with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths; that is, they are born into families with money. Sometimes those silver spoons are full of stock certificates, diamonds and titles to real estate. They are the ones who never have to be concerned about where money for next month’s rent is coming from, and others–most of us–are born into families that work for our meat and potatoes, or rice and fish. We think twice about spending money for anything we don’t really need. But when it comes to those other two categories–your talents and your time, there is far more equality.
Every person, rich or poor, gifted or neglected, educated or illiterate, has exactly 168 hours a week, 24 hours a day, and 60 minutes in every hour. In this, there is perfect equality.
The third category of what you invest–talents and abilities–also has a measure of equality. I’ve discovered that brains and abilities are pretty evenly scattered among the haves and the have-nots. I never cease to be amazed at the ingenuity of people who have never seen a college or university, but have an intuitive ability to see what needs fixing and fix it, or create something beautiful, weaving together pieces of yarn or taking bamboo, shredding it, and making a basket with craftsmanship never learned in school.
So what’s the point? How you invest what God has put into your hands is a matter of great importance.
In October 1989, my wife and I were doing a conference in a rather affluent church when the American stock market was teetering and about to crash. Various men were talking of their investments, wondering if they were secure, when one turned to me and asked, “Do you have investments?’ “Yes,” I replied, “quite large ones, in fact,” but gesturing towards heaven, I added, “they are up there where they are quite secure and the stock market never affects them.”
By the way, where are your investments?
Resource reading: Matthew 6:19-24