Glimpses of Grace and Truth...“Investing for Time and Eternity”—Sounds like a catchy title, but most would admit that when we hear that, we think it's about money. For sure, “investing” usually is about money. But investing is much more; it includes all the resources God entrusts to us: our time, talents, and treasures. Years ago, a pastor challenged a group of us, saying, “If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400, but it carried no balance from day to day, allowed you to keep no cash in your account, then every evening canceled anything you hadn’t used that day, what would you do?” We agreed we’d use every single penny.
Well, you and I have that bank; it’s the First National Bank of Time. Every morning, it deposits into your account: 86,400 seconds. Every night, it does an official write-off of whatever you’ve failed to invest in good purpose. The bank has no carryover balances. It does not grant overdrafts. If you don’t use that day’s deposits on good investments, it’s your loss. Time really is one of those “use it or lose it” commodities. Jesus urged us to invest first in God's Kingdom (Matt. 6:33). Using our time right, making Christ’s work a priority, is a wise investment that pays eternal dividends.
We can say the same thing about “talents,” those gifts and abilities God has given us. We can use them wisely, doing things that truly make a lasting difference in the world or in a person’s life rather than on something more self -centered or something else we were convinced to make the priority for our time or talent.
I hope you’ll hear these next words as care-fully as I write (& rewrite) them. When “someone else” tells you how to use time/talent—even saying it’s for you/your family—but what they say is not consistent with God’s priorities, you may end up giving away your time/talent in ways you can’t get back. There are well-meaning coaches, teachers, leaders, friends and family, who make big promises: “if you just attend this many practices/games, or participate in that many events/activities, your reward will be ____.” Too often, the “promises” don’t happen as big or fast as we thought. The promised scholarship ends up at a university with limited academic majors; the promised job is outsourced to an outside company; the promotion goes to someone else; or you get so burned out on the sport that you never want to play again (I’ve seen a Little League World Series champion put down her glove and say “I’ll never play again”). Many of these things can teach us important lessons on life and faith—especially school sports which tell us we’re more than a face in the crowd—but when they demand so much of our time that important things suffer, we’re not making a wise investment.
When we consider God’s gift of time, talent, or treasure, we can either “bury it” (Matt. 25:18); or we can waste it; or we can wisely invest it. “Investing for time and eternity” includes how we use our time and talents, and our treasures. When we give, we are giving back to God the gift God gave to us. As you consider your time, your talents, and your treasure, will you be one who is “investing for time and eternity”? Late next week, you’ll receive a card inviting your family to prayerfully discern how to invest your future in Christ’s Church.
Gladly serving Christ beside you: Ed, Will & the First UMC Family