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Sunday, April 20, 2014 other day's devotionals

Today's Devotional Reading
Long Term Investments

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And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' Then he said, 'This is what I'll do, I will tear down by barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years, Take life easy' eat, drink and be merry." ' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God (Lk.12:16-21).

I am one who believes in long term investments, though not in the way that most people may think. I do not give much thought to stocks, IRA's and retirement funds, probably not enough, yet that does not really bother me. While those may seem like wise, long term investments, to me, they remain very short term in the perspective of all things. For I believe that $50 dollars given to someone in need will have greater, long-lasting returns than any interest accruing account could possibly hold. I see the one as an investment in a life; while the other I see as an investment in this life. The one is eternal, as it is invested in that which is eternal; while the other may only truly be of benefit in a short lived retirement. The question would then be, "In what am I invested?"
I may be invested in making money, or putting away for retirement, or making a good living so that "me and mine" can be financially stable. These have been noble ideals of our nation for some time. Free enterprise and democracy have created for us a country in which we are free to seek life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But whom do I seek these for, and whom do I store up wealth for, and how long will it last? In Luke 12, Jesus tells the story of a man who had no doubt invested wisely, and had put away more than enough for his own lifetime. He patted himself on his own back as he admired his accomplishments, "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" (vs. 20). Jesus concludes his parable by telling us that, "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God" (vs. 21).
Perhaps I am invested in my appearance. I may place so much time in developing physical fortitude that I have little time for anything else. It is not uncommon for people today to become slaves to their bodies, and to become so absorbed in keeping themselves toned and looking good, that they can see little beyond their own reflection in the weightroom mirror. 2 Cor. 4:16 would tell us that our outward person is wasting away, and we know this is true. And we all know that dedication to rigorous body development cannot deliver any from the inevitable end. It makes one feel good for a time, but what ramifications will it have in regard to eternity. While taking care of our bodies is not only good, but right and necessary, too much time invested in appearance will come of nothing. And the time that one slaves within self-concern of physical beauty, that which is of more importance (the spirit that is eternal) is neglected and becomes weak, and cannot help the self or anyone else.
I may be invested in my intellect. Perhaps I spend hour upon hour reading and learning and acquiring as much knowledge as I can. Perhaps I will become a "professional student," filling my educational portfolio with a stack of degrees that would impress the likes of the most educated people of times past or present. Yet the vanity of such a quest surfaces as old age creeps in and claims bit by educated bit of precious memory and hard earned knowledge.
"So what's wrong with these pursuits?" you may be asking. I believe that answer would lie in the motive behind the pursuit. If we are motivated by self concern and nothing more, then everything is wrong with it. We become as the man in Jesus parable, investing time, energy and money in ourselves alone for this life alone, only to have it all stripped away in the end. But if we are motivated by a desire to be invested in others then the benefits are eternal--never to be lost. But do not be deceived, it is ever so easy to invest in the self, while attaching a noble cause as to convince one's self that the interests of others are at heart, when in fact, much is done to meet selfish wants and personal concern.
The question remains, "In what am I invested?" Am I more concerned about what this life holds for me? Or is it of greater importance to me, what the eternal life holds for us all?

Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (1Cor.3:13-15).

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