Return on investment
Ecclesiastes 11: Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns.
The Lord is wonderfully generous to us. He’s given us the world and all its beauty and life itself. His greatest gift to us is salvation. This gift cost him everything as is seen at the cross. This is God’s investment in us and his charity toward us. Solomon says “charity yields high returns.” God gave everything and he has every right to expect big returns on his investment. What is the return he expects? He expects human beings to respond to his great act of charity by giving their hearts to him in loving devotion. From the very beginning God has desired willing fellowship from us. That relationship is so valuable to the Lord that he gave everything (invested everything) that that relationship might be restored. It’s my positive response to that sacrifice; my responding in love and thanksgiving, and my walking in continued fellowship with the Lord that he considers to be a “high return.”
Take Away: Am I giving the Lord a “high return” on his investment in me?
Playing it smart
Luke 16: I want you to be smart in the same way.
It’s an interesting story for Jesus to tell because the hero’s a crook. This guy mismanages his bosses’ money and then, when he’s caught he mismanages it some more in a quick witted move to find a soft landing elsewhere. Jesus doesn’t advocate that his followers be good at making shady deals, but he does urge us to play it smart. At one level I can respond by spiritualizing the story. That is I can come away having been reminded that I’m to be smart in how I go about the business of the Lord. For instance, I can use my wits to find ways to reach out to lost people and not just stand for the status quo all the time. However, I don’t think this is the primary application of this story. Rather, Jesus is talking about living smart, being alert to opportunities, and taking advantage of openings. When I see an investment opportunity I’m not to turn away piously declaring that “God will take care of me.” Rather, I’m to explore the possibility that the investment opportunity might be God’s way of doing just that. Jesus’ story isn’t a license for me to take unfair advantage of people but it is a reminder that Christians should live smart lives and not think we’re too spiritual to take advantage of legitimate opportunities that come our way.
Take Away: A person can be ethical in the highest sense of the word and still be a good in business.