Invest Your Time
These days, almost everyone is short on time. We have more modern-day conveniences than ever, yet we seem to have busier schedules than generations before us. It is easy to fill our lives up with non-essentials to the point that we can no longer tell the difference between essential and non-essential.
This can sometimes give us excuses for not investing our time for the sake of the Gospel. Unless we put our faith into practice–in the form of action–the world cannot see that faith. Even if you have sound doctrine, your faith is not beneficial to the Kingdom of God unless it moves you to action.
Read what James told us about this in chapter 2:14-19 of his letter:
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
It is easy for us to say we’ll go on that mission trip, or go spend some time working on the local project the church is doing at the soup kitchen. But what if there is no organized group activity? Are our hearts in such a condition that we seek out opportunities to do things that are inconvenient for the sake of the Gospel–even when we don’t have the accountability to participate?
Here are some self-examination questions for us to consider:
- Do I go out of my way to serve the people who cannot do anything for me?
- When is the last time I did something in the name of Jesus that truly cost me–be it time, money or social status?
- Do I serve to feel better about myself, or is it done out of love for Christ?
Invest Your Resources
Perhaps this is what comes to mind when most people think about sacrificial giving–resources, or more simply put–money. One of the most popular examples of sacrificial giving in the Bible is the story of the widow’s mite. Luke 21:1-4 sets the stage for us:
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”
It is human nature to feel justified when we mark off things on our “spiritual checklist:”
- Read the Bible. Check.
- Pray. Check.
- Go to church on Sunday. Check.
- Pay my “dues” in the offering plate or in the mailed envelope to the ministry I support. Check.
Make no mistake–God is honored when we do those things with the right heart. But, are there sacrifices involved when we do them? Rest assured, there is nothing sinful about having possessions. What matters to God is our heart toward our money and our possessions. Do we see them as ours, or as His?
Regardless of how much we give to Kingdom work–whether it is $10 or $10,000–Jesus makes it obvious to us in Luke 21:1-4 that He is most pleased with those who had to sacrifice to give that $10.
What is your “mite?” Are you sowing sacrificially from your resources?
Invest in Your Own Heart
The greatest thing others need from us is our own personal holiness. We can give out of our wallets until it hurts. We can spend all of our vacation time going on mission trips. However, if our hearts are not pure before the Lord, constantly seeking Him and nourishing our relationship with Him, we are not equipped to be His hands and feet.
Proverbs 4:23 explains this principle very simply: Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.
The most valuable thing we can sow into the world’s soil is the love of Jesus. How present is it in your life? We cannot pass on to others what we do not already possess. Invest in your heart through cultivating purity. This could mean making a stronger effort to be in God’s Word on a daily basis. It may mean inviting others to hold you accountable for your spiritual growth. Perhaps you feel a tug to spend more time in concentrated prayer over a particular matter.
God calls some to go on the mission field. He provides a material abundance to others so that they can give more resources to the Kingdom. But He calls us all to have holy lives–the most effective way to sow seeds of the Gospel.
All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible.