Have you seen the TV show, ‘Shark Tank?’ It’s where smart, successful people listen to business ‘pitches’ and decide if they want to invest in the product and the business. It’s now in its 10th season, and it has brought us products like the ‘Ring’ doorbell, ‘Bombas’ socks, and even the ‘Squatty-Potty…’
The show goes something like this: Business ‘X’ comes in and gives a 2-minute pitch to the ‘Sharks’ (business men and women who have money to invest and the smarts to know when something is a good deal). There are usually product samples that the Sharks can try out, and then they ask questions. They always want to know things like how big the company is, how long it’s been around, what their sales have been, their profit margins, and how much experience the business owners have. Then they decide whether they want to be ‘in’ or ‘out’ of contention to invest in the company. Although what we see on TV for a pitch is usually less than 10 minutes, I’ve heard that a lot of those conversations last a couple hours as the ‘Sharks’ grill the business owners on all the details related to their product or service. All in all, they are investing real dollars in a real deal and they want to make sure that they’ll be getting a good return on their investment.
Jesus told a story about a ‘shark’ in Matthew 25, in what has come to be known as “The Parable of the Talents.” In this story, a businessman leaves various sums of money with three of his employees, expecting them to get a return on his investment. The first two employees end up doubling the investment, and are rewarded highly. The last didn’t even put the money in the bank and got zero return. Things didn’t end up so well for him.
At the end of this story is a phrase that I have heard all of my life. It’s what the businessman says to the first two employees. Most people would say that they want to hear this phrase when they get to heaven: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I know I want to hear that when I transition from this life to the next! But it’s not just automatic, is it? I mean, not everyone is going to hear that from Jesus. According to the story (you can read it at Matt. 25:14-30), hearing that phrase from God has a lot to do with investing.
We’re not told in the story what these two employees did with their master’s money. They may have started a business or invested in one. They could have developed a product and then sold it. Maybe they found some good stocks to buy that reaped dividends. Whatever they did, because they invested well, they were rewarded – ‘Well done…!’
So is this all about earning money for Jesus?! No, that’s not the point. The point is that you and I have been given a whole lot from our Master. He’s invested in us, and He expects us to invest those things well, to bring dividends that matter for His Kingdom.
God has given us things like time, energy, money, physical resources, ingenuity, intelligence, abilities, passions, and so much more! How are you using yours? You know that it’s possible to use these things poorly - I’ve wasted time and money and energy so many times! So God wants us to invest wisely, in things that matter for His Kingdom.
What are good investments, as God, our Master, sees them? What is He looking for when He returns? A good investment is anything that will last for eternity, beyond this life. And the list of those things is pretty short. The way I see it, it’s a list of 3:
- God’s Truths & Principles
- People’s souls
Those things will last forever…everything else won’t. So invest your resources, time, energy, money, and all the rest of the things God has invested in you, in promoting the truths and principles of God, and in loving the people around you to life!
If Jesus was listening to your ‘pitch’ of how you were living your life, would He want to invest His resources in you?