Summary: Jesus gives us the best investment advice there is.
#7 in series on the Sermon on the Mount
Preached April 14, 2002
Parkview Church of the Nazarene,
J. Richard Lord, Jr.
The Mercy Investment
Ever since this latest recession has struck, a lot of people have been glued to CNN, Fox News and other such news, listening to reports on the latest rise and fall of businesses and the ups and downs in the stock market.
Most of us who have any kind of retirement program have some ties to the stock market and as a result, ties to the business of Wall Street, whether we realize it or not.
So it is of prime concern to us of how well business is in America. Add to the news about the Enron scandal and how thousands of people have had their retirements wiped out can understandably cause some worry.
Some of us have put a lifetime of savings into these retirement plans believing we will have a nice little nest egg to carry us through our golden years. And now, uncertainty has landed at our door.
We have expected, because we have put this money out, that we will receive it, multiplied many times over, back when we need it.
So everybody is jittery. The stock market continues to plunge up and down. We bite our nails. We watch our retirement portfolios take a beating. We have learned firsthand that in this life there is no sure investment.
Except for one thing.
The investment in Mercy.
There is classic commercial about an investment firm called E. F. Hutton. In this commercial, you see a room full of people sitting around, chatting. In one corner, there is a conversation going on and someone says, “My broker is E. F. Hutton and he says. . .” At that point, the whole room becomes quiet and everybody leans forward and strains to hear what E. F. Hutton said.
As we look at this scripture, everyone sitting around is straining to hear what Jesus is saying. And as we listen, we hear Jesus gives the best investment advice in the world. He is telling us to invest in Mercy.
If you are a good investor, you have learned that before you invest in something, you must learn everything you can about it, so you can invest with realistic knowledge and expectations of what kind of return you will get.
So what is Mercy? Mercy is:
The New International Dictionary describes mercy as: “Forbearance from inflicting punishment on an adversary or a lawbreaker.” Forbearance is a legal term meaning: “Refraining from enforcement of a debt, right or obligation that is due.”
When a court grants forbearance, it means that there is a recognition that a debt or obligation is owed, but that it will refrain from collecting on that debt.
If you commit a crime, the court can, if it so chooses, grant you forbearance of the punishment of that crime. Of course, this is usually done under extreme mitigating circumstances and very rarely.
When we come to Jesus, he grants us forbearance of the penalty of our sins. We are guilty, we owe the debt, but Jesus grants us permanent forbearance.
Having received forbearance, Jesus expects us to do the same with our fellow men. In the Lord’s Prayer, he instructs us how to pray, “Forgive us our debts (or trespasses) as we forgive our debtors. (or those who trespass against us)” (Matthew 6:12)
When we ask Jesus for forgiveness for our sins, there must be a willingness to forgive others, or there can be no salvation. Jesus was very definite on this point.
"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
"The servant fell on his knees before him. `Be patient with me,’ he begged, `and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. `Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, `Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.