It started a few years ago with a few pieces of colored cardboard. Our oldest son was about five years old, and I bought him a few baseball cards. Once he hit college, that baseball card collection paid for a lot of things in his life. In fact, other guys saw he knew how to invest in a card that would appreciate quickly and give them a profit. So they asked him if they could give him money to invest for them. Now that boy has become a man and the love for his hobby has been passed down to his son. But here’s the thing. My son never had very much money to work with, but he knew how to take a limited amount of it and invest it in what would pay off.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Strategic Investing.”
Now, our word for today from the Word of God, Luke 16. We’re going to read one of the most curious parables I think Jesus ever told. He told His disciples there was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. This man’s called on the carpet for doing that. And in verse 4 it says of this steward, “I know what I’ll do. When I lose my job here, I want to make sure people will welcome me into their houses.” So he goes on to call on all the people who owe his master money and he discounts their debt. Well, they say “Hey, what a great guy, huh!” Then he loses his job, but boy has he got friends.
Verse 8: “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people in this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” What’s going on here? What’s the point?
Obviously Jesus is not commending the manager’s morals. It’s his shrewdness – strategic investing. He’s handed what he has, he’s handled what he had in such a way that he insured he would have friends later on. That’s why Jesus says, “Use your wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so you’ll be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” But He’s talking here about forever friends, people who will be your friends in heaven.
The question is, “How can you use what resources you have on earth in essence to buy yourself friends in heaven?” Well, you use your resources to reach lost people for Jesus Christ. In Philippians 4:17 Paul asks for a financial gift from the people in Philippi, and he says, “I want you to give a gift, not because I need it, but so my fruit will be credited to your account.”
See, when you invest in the work of a missionary, every person that missionary or that ministry brings to Christ, in essence you bring to Christ. That’s true of any ministry you give to. In 1 Samuel 30:24 it says this: “The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle.” Now, your faithful prayer for someone on the frontlines buys you a spiritual share in every person they reach.
Isn’t that incredible? Your behind the scenes volunteer help, the gifts of your time. That makes you a partner in the eternal results. It’s no wonder the Bible talks about cheerful givers. When you give to the work of God, you are doing strategic investing with a tremendous ROI – a tremendous payoff and return on investment. Like a certain baseball card collector I know, you’re taking what you have and you’re investing as much of it as possible in things that will pay off later.
And remember, long after the mansions and the millions of earth are just dust, you can have friends in heaven – maybe from around the world, friends who will forever say to you, “Thank you for sacrificing what you had on earth so I could hear about Jesus and so I could be in heaven forever.”