Your Life, what is the Return on its Investment?
What is our ROI?
† In Jesus Name †
May you be have the power to comprehend how wide, how long, how high and how deep the loved of Christ for you…
Introduction: Will we look back and say… we got our bang for the buck?
As we look at the gospel passage this morning, I have a question I want each of us to ask ourselves.
At the end of our lives, as we look back over them, will we think we spent it well? Did we get, as the saying goes, “the biggest bang for our buck”? Or as businessmen and investors would describe it, did we get the largest possible return on investment?
What would happen if we looked at how we have spent our time in the last month? What about our talents – have we used them well? What dominates our thoughts, our time, our career choices?
Is our investment of our lives done wisely? Is it in something that will truly pay off in the end? The man in the parable did things that the world would consider wise. He did things that made sense. Yet, in the end, the value of his invested life faded. This parable today asks a hard question of us, especially in the culture of these days, where the rich’s man’s situation is more than common. That question strikes at the root of what is ours, and what is.
As we look at our lives…two questions we will face
“Where and how do we invest our lives?”
“What do we do when we realize we’ve been wasting them?”
The challenge of where to invest
Solomon’s cry of “worthlessness”
Jesus responds to the man’s request by telling him a story with a clear lesson. The businessman is all business! He does what any normal executive would do, the profits are soaring, work is going well. It is time to expand! The very same conclusions one would make if they were a graduate of Harvard or Pepperdine’s MBA program. He plans and puts his money where his mind is, looks to a future relaxing on the long-range investments he makes, and then, Jesus’ point is driven home.
“Life is not measured by how much you own.” We do not measure our lives by our retirement portfolios, or by our investments, or our fame. Remember the context; the man calling out from the crowd wanted Jesus to force his brother into liquidating the inheritance – that he could have his share. He was willing to break a relationship up over something as fleeting as money. He was willing to divide his family over what he thought he deserved.
So it was with the man in the parable. He did not get to fulfil his plan of eating and drinking and being merry. He did not see the results of how he invested his money, his prophets, or his life. Just like Solomon in the Old Testament passage, he realized that all is vanity; all is worthless. The difference is Solomon comes to that realization prior to death, and the businessman in the story learns it in death.
His life was judged worthless! He did not reach His goal. At the end, there was nothing, someone else enjoyed what was supposed to be his dream. Yet this is the very attitude so many people in our world have today. What is there at the end?
In hoarding his wealth, in chasing after bigger and better things, how many people in need did he ignore? How much time did he spend with the for whom he cared, or should have cared. Did he obey the Bible’s commands to love God and love his neighbor? Could he have made a difference in the lives of his family, teaching them about what is important in life? Could he have enjoyed himself a little more?
How would we have a different life, if we regularly evaluate them by what matters? What does matter?
What matters when the day is done???
Back to the original question– what will Christ judge?
Verse 21 of the gospel tells us, “21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Solomon said it similarly in the Old Testament reading,
“24 So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? 26 “
hear the last verse again,
25 For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? 26 “
There is the key, this relationship we have with God, This rich relationship we have with God. The fact that He is present in our lives, that He cares about us, that He is willing to invest in us, the people of His kingdom. He is unlike the businessman in that His investment doesn’t serve just His pleasure, but He shares that with those He calls to be His children.
He invests in us…. So He can share with us eternally the joy He has from seeing that which He invests in return gloriously. People of every nation, of every language, of every culture, of every time, gathered as His family, even as we are gathered together now. Gathered to feast together as we celebrate the union of Christ and His bride the church. That is why our feast, this communion, this celebration of the Lord’s Supper can be so precious. It is a foretaste, a sampling of the feast that is described in Scripture.
It is a feast worth investing our lives in, even as Christ did, making sure others will be there. So the church is called to go out into the world, into our homes, our workplaces, our gyms, the places we go to, and invite others to share in that feast to come, and yes, this feast we share in here.
To build relationships, to serve each other, and yes, to even invest our time and our talents and treasures so that others can come to know God’s love, to enjoy the relationship.
What about our bad investments?
My final question then is, what do we do when we take a look at our lives, and realize that we have not chosen wisely with how we’ve spent our lives?
The answer to that question is answered by how we see God investing in our lives. For His investment covers our poor investing. His choice corrects our bad choices. For that is what forgiveness is, and the transformation He made in us, when we were baptized.
He guaranteed to forgive our life-debt when Jesus was sent to die on the cross. Matter of fact, the word Jesus uttered on the cross, saying “it is finished” is an accounting term. The debt is paid, the books are closed. Your mistakes, the bad investments of your words, your thoughts, your time, your talents, all of those negatives were erased when Christ died for you.
That is how God invested His son’s time and talents. Because He loves you, because He wants a relationship with you. That is what this is all about… and that love binds us to each other, and our sins against each other are forgiven as well.
All we have to do, is what we did earlier – we ask God for forgiveness, and rest in His promise that it is so.
Knowing this love, knowing this relationship God has invested in, may you find your hearts and minds at peace… for you dwell in Christ, who keeps you in God’s peace!