When most people think of investing, they think of stocks, real estate, or a bad investment. We tend to focus mostly on financial gains. But I’d like to introduce you to another investment that I’ve begun to enjoy, with tremendous returns. I call it spiritual investing.
Here’s what I mean. We invest money and expect it to grow in value over time. Similarly, I think we can also expect a return when we invest in our spiritual lives. I’ve had the privilege of providing lay leadership for our mission efforts in Uganda with Empower One. I’ve traveled there three times in the past 18 months. I’ve invested my time and money, and have seen a huge return in two ways:
- Faith-building. There’s an element of faith-building that occurs when we leave our “comfort zone.” Discomfort has a way of focusing us. At first this focus can seem self-centered, but as followers of Christ, discomfort should always focus us on Him. When you’re in an unfamiliar place, you desperately search for something recognizable. God is the only thing that’s unchanging, constant and always available. If familiarity breeds contempt, I think it can also contribute to a dulling of our faith. We simply don’t have to trust God as much when we’re comfortably going about our normal routine. Familiarity fools us with an illusion of control. And let’s be honest — we love control. Faith requires recognizing that you are not in control and being settled with it, because you cede this control . . . and protection . . . and provision . . . to God. Imagine how different your life would be if you did this more often. What if a trip could kickstart that process?
- Seeing more of God’s glory. I’m not saying God doesn’t show us His glory here at home, but I do think it might be easier to see it somewhere else. In his Bible study Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby urges us to “find out where God is working and join Him.” I’ve taken this to heart. God is working in mighty, almost unbelievable ways in other countries. We think nothing of taking a trip to experience God’s creation to a place like the Grand Canyon. Or we see busloads of tourists converge on the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY. These places are great, but I hope more of our Shandon family will consider spending their time and money to go where God is working and witness His glory live and in person. As a bonus, He allows us to take part in His work! The spiritual return I’ve received from this is immeasurable. I haven’t been the same since I returned from Uganda that first time — and neither has anyone else who’s gone. Ask them.
I could go on and on. We talk about the things we love. I love Uganda. I love Empower One. I love the friends I’ve made in the Lord there.
And perhaps the love that God has increased in my heart is another return that stems from this investment.
Is God limited in how He works? Of course not. But do we inhibit spiritual growth by being poor investors? I think it’s possible. Resolve to look for ways to invest in your spiritual development and see what God does in your life. I can’t wait to hear about it!