For decades, I’ve chosen to use the term “invest” instead of “spend.” I originally started to use the terminology of investing when I was contemplating advertising our newly-launched church in the community through youth soccer team sponsorships, direct mail and signs on the Little League field. Sometimes people looked puzzled and would ask, isn’t that an expense?
In The Janitor, a book I recently read, the fifth life-axiom shared is “Don’t spend; invest!” While we tend to think of spending and investing as a financial matter, it really relates to what I call the “Triple T” (time, talent and treasure). We must evaluate all our activities in life as either an investment or an expense.
Here’s an exercise: Try hitting the pause button and taking the time to reflect on your activity and the brain time that you are currently putting into a task or decision. Now try to fast-forward the activity a bit to imagine and visualize where your work (and maybe your stress) is heading. Finally, ask yourself whether the outcome has any significance. You can even take it a step further and ask yourself whether the upshot you are envisioning could have any eternal significance.
Your answers to this little exercise will tell you whether you are spending or investing. In the book, Bob explains it to Roger this way, “It is easy to tell the difference. Usually when we are focused on our own agendas, we are spending. We spend our time, money, talent, and so forth. But when we are focused on our God-given purpose, we are investing” (Chpt 12).
It helped me over the year’s to simply stop and ask myself these kinds of questions when I’m caught up in the busyness of life. Does the outcome of my activity help fulfill the purpose that God created me for? Does it have any eternally significant impact on someone else? This question isn’t just for pastors like me. Everyone has a purpose. Everyone can make an eternal impact. Our biggest challenge in life is to try to understand and fulfill that purpose. How are you doing with your investments?
QUESTION: What is one investment you’ve made? I would love to hear about it in the Comment section below.