What is your biggest concern regarding your future—your health? Your finances? Your safety? Dire warnings abound in the United States concerning the viability of Social Security to provide for the elderly. Factor in escalating costs for health care, taxes and the cost of living, and it is not surprising that financial concerns cloud the horizon for many people.
The Bible has much to say about money and the future. The Scriptures urge us to invest! Of course, there is no point in scanning the New Testament’s pages looking for tips on the stock market or real estate; the Bible looks further into the future than just a few years or decades or even lifetimes. Jesus urged people to invest long term–into eternity.
Read Matthew 6:19-20 below, and underline two dangers in investing your money in material things.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Many people actively follow the stock market and analyze the growth or decline in their retirement funds. Unfortunately, we are not always as studious when it comes to understanding the character and growth of our own heart. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Jesus fully understood human nature. He did not say that we invest in what we care about. He declared that our heart follows our money! If we dole out substantial amounts of money on material things, those things will consume our affections and attentions. If we buy a stock or a dream home, we will immediately give them our attention and concern.
That was the rich young ruler’s dilemma. He wanted to care about eternal things, but his wealth was committed to temporal concerns. Jesus invited him to become His disciple and to help change the world, but he could not escape money’s grip on his life. Perhaps the reason his story is recounted in three of the four Gospels (Matthew 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23) is because so many of us identify with him and his struggle.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool. The man in Jesus’ story may have intended to invest in eternal things once he had made his earthly fortune. Unfortunately, before he could refocus on eternity, death came upon him unexpectedly, and he forever lost his chance to invest in what really mattered.
Read Luke 12:17-21 and list the faulty assumptions the rich fool made about his life and investments.
This man was wealthy in material possessions but he was spiritually bankrupt. The world may not applaud those who invest their resources in eternity, but Heaven does. Many would ridicule an impoverished widow who put her last coin in the offering plate, but Jesus said Heaven saw and rejoiced at her faith (Mark 12:41-44). Peter asked Jesus what would happen to the disciples since they had given up all they had to follow Him. Read Matthew 19:27-30 and list what Jesus said His disciples would receive for investing in God’s Kingdom.
How it pleases the Lord when a family forgoes its usual Christmas spending to go on an international mission trip, a woman invests her earnings into a Christian orphanage in Africa, a retired pathologist generously supports the theological training of ministers in Canada or a woman develops a Christian ministry to prostitutes in India. When these people come to the end of their lives, their heirs will spend whatever inheritance they leave behind and their houses and possessions will be sold or distributed to others. But that which they generously invested in God’s Kingdom will continue paying eternal dividends.
List three to five things in which you are presently investing your resources that will outlast your grandchildren.
Consider any investments or regular expenditures you are presently making that will have little or no impact on the future. Do you think God is pleased with your investments? What adjustments do you think God wants you to make? Presently, would you describe yourself as “rich toward God”? (Luke 12:21). The key is not the amount you invest in the Lord’s work but what you do with what you have. Ask the Lord to show you how He wants you to invest in the future and then let Him make an impact on eternity through you. d: ©2010 Richard Blackaby
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version.
Richard Blackaby is president of Blackaby Ministries International. He has served as a pastor and also as president of the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane, Alberta. Richard has co-authored several books with his father, Henry, including “Experiencing God: Revised Edition,” and “Fresh Encounter: Revised Edition.” Richard speaks internationally on the Christian life, spiritual leadership and revival.