Taking Stock of Our Resources

With the world nearing economic Armageddon, it's hard to imagine a safe place to deposit our money. But when we faithfully tithe or devote our resources to the Kingdom, it propels the Gospel to the world. Souls are saved and heaven is populated. When you support your local church, your funds are transmuted into literature, lives, ministries, and missions. You may never see the returns till you get to heaven, but what a joy it will be to run into folks on the golden streets and learn that it was your gift that helped bring them to faith in Christ.

But our investments for Christ go beyond money. We also invest our energy and passion into the work, and this investment comes back to bless us even now. In his treatise on Christian zeal, the British writer J. C. Ryle wrote, "Zeal is good for a Christian's own soul. We all know that exercise is good for the health and that regular employment of our muscles and limbs promotes our bodily comfort and increases our bodily vigor. Now that which exercise does for our bodies, zeal will do for our souls. It will help mightily to promote inward feelings of joy, peace, comfort, and happiness. None have so much enjoyment of Christ as those who are ever zealous for His glory."2

Charles Caleb Colton was another British wit who is remembered for his quips and quotes. He knew how to turn a great phrase, and for many years his sayings have been recycled in quotation books. Colton, for example, is the one who first said, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

It's Colton's definition of time that interests me: "Time is the most indefinable, yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past, even while we attempt to define it, and like the flash of the lightning, at once exists and expires." Time, according to another of Colton's apt quotations, is "the bleak and narrow isthmus between two eternities."

Right now we have just enough time to do what God wants us to do. According to Ephesians 2:10 "we're God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand for us to do." Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV) adds, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."

It's perilously easy to become so busy doing what comes next and tackling only those things that seem urgent. But the Bible tells us to give thought to our steps (Proverbs 14:8 NIV). We should begin every day by thinking through our agenda and making time for what is truly important, things that will matter in eternity.

In the April 3, 1919, edition of The Herald of Gospel Liberty, a Maine pastor named M. W. Willard told of a businessman in Calcutta who was approached for a donation by the secretary of the British Missionary Society. The merchant wrote a check for $250, a significant amount in those days. As he handed over the check, a cablegram arrived. He read it and looked troubled. "This cablegram," he said, "tells me that one of my ships has been wrecked and the cargo lost. It makes a very large difference in my affairs. I will have to write you another check."

The secretary understood perfectly and handed back the $250 check. The checkbook was still open, and so the merchant wrote another check and handed it over. It was for $1000.

"Haven't you made a mistake?" asked the secretary.

"No," said the merchant. "I have not made a mistake. That cablegram was a message from my Father in heaven. It read: ‘Lay not up for yourself treasure on earth.'"

The Bible says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world… the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17). The investments of this world may crumble, but whatever we invest in the Kingdom, we're sending it on ahead. What we have we'll lose; but the time, energy, and resources we invest in God's work are solid investments that will pay dividends throughout eternity.

1 Charles J. Corrado and Bradford D. Jordan , Fundamentals of Investments by (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2004), 214.

2 J. C. Ryle, Be Zealous (Ipswich: Hung & Son, 1852), 19.

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