Summary: So how are your investments doing?
“Living a Joy-full Life: Make Good Investments”
So how are your investments doing? It’s more than likely that you immediately thought about your financial investments. And why not? Investment advice is everywhere – radio, television, newspapers, magazine stands, banks, brokerage firms, and even in our mailboxes. The question, of course, is always “Which source is the most trustworthy? Which investment will, over the course of time, prove to be the wisest investment?”
But there is an investment that is much more important than our financial ones – and that’s our investment in the cause of Jesus Christ. As he closes out his letter to his beloved Philippians, Paul commends them for making good investments and in doing so gives us some sound investment strategy. He begins by stating that GOOD INVESTMENTS ARE SATISFYING. (17-18a) “Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent.” Paul states that investments are satisfying when they lead to ADDITIONAL CREDIT. “…what I desire is that more be credited to your account.” Paul measures the Philippians’ investment not so much by what it did for him as by what it did for them. In verses 14-16 he commends them for being constant in their support of him, even when they themselves did not have much to give. Every time they gave to his ministry it was credited to their account and has been accumulating interest. This account is STORED IN THE BANK OF HEAVEN. Paul also told Timothy about the existence and importance of this heavenly account. (1 Tim. 6:18-19 GNT) “Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share with others. In this way they will store up for themselves a treasure which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life.”
God’s Word consistently teaches that we cannot give freely and willingly without energizing and blessing our own lives. (Prov. 11:25) “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Mt. 5:7 NLT) “God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.” (Lk. 6:38 NLT) “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”Viktor Frankl spent years in a Nazi prison camp where persons were subjected to subhuman and antihuman treatment that threatened annihilation of decency, of the worth and dignity of persons, as well as physical being. Out of that experience Frankl wrote an inspiring and insightful book entitled Man’s Search For Meaning. From his death camp observations, he documented the amazing coping powers of humans to retain inner freedom. He wrote: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last pieces of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Those who gave blessed others but blessed themselves even more. They found satisfaction in their investments.
Good investments are satisfying when they lead to additional credit – and when they lead to ADEQUATE CONTRIBUTION. (18a) “I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent.” Because of the Philippians’ gift, which was apparently more than he had anticipated, Paul was financially set and had no more need. They had given above and beyond their means an amount that only God knew would so overwhelmingly satisfy Paul’s needs. God knows what His servants need. WE DO THE INVESTING AND GOD DOES THE SATISFYING.
I recall a time in a previous congregation when we decided to change our fiscal and budget year from January – December to July – June. To transition to this we had one 6-month budget. It impacted what our missionaries would receive and when they would receive it. So as we sent out the payments that were out of the normal scheduled I attached a letter explaining what we were doing. I received more than one letter in return stating how that particular contribution at that particular unexpected time had met a specific need that would not otherwise have been met in a timely manner. God knows what His servants need. Our investments, when made in good faith, are good because God makes sure they are satisfying – to the giver and receiver. As Paul wrote the Corinthians (2 Cor. 9:10-14): “Remember that the person who plants few seeds will have a small crop; the one who plants many seeds will have a large crop. You should each give, then, as you have decided, not with regret or out of a sense of duty; for God loves the one who gives gladly. And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause…And God, who supplies seed for the sower and bread to eat, will also supply you with all the seed you need and will make it grow and produce a rich harvest from your generosity. He will always make you rich enough to be generous at all times, so that many will thank God for your gifts which they receive from us. For this service you perform not only meets the needs of God's people, but also produces an outpouring of gratitude to God. And because of the proof which this service of yours brings, many will give glory to God for your loyalty to the gospel of Christ, which you profess, and for your generosity in sharing with them and everyone else. And so with deep affection they will pray for you because of the extraordinary grace God has shown you.” Satisfying for the giver and receiver.