#025: The Single Most Important Investment Priority

In our western culture it is easy for us to get caught up in the quest for more: more toys, bigger homes, nicer cars. You name it, we want the newest, nicest version of everything. But in the quest for more, do we lose sight of our priorities?

Investment Priorities

Jesus warned the disciples to be on guard against all kinds of greed, because he said, a man’s life is not measured by his possessions (Luke 12:15). He went on to tell the disciples the parable of the rich fool:

16  “The land of a rich man was very productive.
17  “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’
18  “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
19  ~’And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘
20  “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’
21  “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)

In this parable the rich man had two priorities: 1) accumulate as much wealth as he could, and 2) use his wealth for his future retirement plans. Now, to be clear there is nothing inherently wrong with wealth, or saving for retirement. What is at issue here is the man’s priority! He is focused exclusively on himself and his needs, while ignoring God (v. 21).

The parable of the rich man is focused on wealth, but Jesus’ warning may be applied more broadly. You have only a certain amount of time, energy, and other resources that God has entrusted to you for the purpose of investing into the Kingdom. The truth is you are resource constrained. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to invest your time, your talents, and your treasures with Kingdom priorities in mind.

Application

Think about your top five priorities in life and at work. Consider to what extent these priorities are being driven by selfish desires, and which are Kingdom priorities.

19  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
21  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21)

I’ve never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse. You can’t take your riches with you to heaven, but you can send them on ahead, by making Kingdom investments a priority!

Join the Conversation!

As always questions and comments are welcome. How are you doing with your priorities? What do you struggle with?

 

Category: Personal Development | Priorities

#024: Envy + Jealousy = Anger Issues

Envy is an emotion related to coveting what someone else has while jealousy is the emotion related to fear that something you have will be taken away by someone else. Add envy and jealousy together and the result will often be anger. Vicious, mad dog anger.

Jealousy Saul and David

There is a lot we can learn about dealing with envy and jealousy from the relationship between Saul and David. Samuel the prophet recorded the story writing,

1 Samuel 18:6-11 (ESV)
6  As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments.
7  And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”
8  And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?”
9  And Saul eyed David from that day on.
10  The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand.
11  And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice.

Saul was the first king of the united kingdoms of Israel, and for a while, he was a good king. But as time went on he let the power of his position affect his ego. When Saul disobeyed the prophet Samuel, the Lord rejected Saul as leader of Israel (1 Samuel 15). From here on Saul’s life takes a bad turn as he struggles harder and harder to hang onto his power.

David killed Goliath and came to the attention of Saul in 1 Samuel 17. Saul was so impressed with young David that he had David join him in the palace. Whatever Saul asked David to do he did with excellence. David was rewarded for his service with a high rank in the army. With every successful battle, David’s popularity grew, to the point that it threatened Saul. When David returned from yet another battle the people lined the streets singing and dancing in tribute to their conquering hero.

Saul’s reaction to David’s success was a combination of envy and jealousy that resulted in an uncontrollable rage. Saul was envious of David’s growing popularity as a result of his success on the battlefield. He was jealous of David fearing that David was about to replace him as king. The result of this combination of envy and jealousy was anger. Saul’s anger evolved into hatred as he vowed to kill David, hunted him, and attempted to kill him several times.

Application

You may not be a king, but if you are an executive, or otherwise occupy a position of power, there is a very real temptation to fall prey to the same egoism as Saul. Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (James 3:16).

The best way to avoid the evil twins of envy and jealousy is to not think too highly of yourself, rather, be humble before the Lord.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you struggled with envy or jealousy at home or at work? If so, how did you react?

Category: Skills | Conflict Management

#023: Christians Need, Receive, and Share Comfort

Are there days when you need a little extra comfort? It might come in the form of a big hug from someone who loves and cares about you.

Comfort

Or it might come in the form of a kind word, or maybe even a “random act of kindness.” But chances are if not today, certainly by the end of the week, there will be a moment when an extra measure of comfort in your life will turn that frown upside down!

Writing to the Corinthians, Paul describes the terrifying circumstances that caused him to even despair of his life (v8)! Certainly Paul needed some comfort, some encouragement, in his life. In 2 Corinthians Paul pours out his heart describing Christians’ need for comfort, how we can receive comfort from God, and that we should share our comfort with others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NASB)
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
4  who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
5  For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
6  But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;
7  and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

Christians Need Comfort. Paul experienced such suffering in his missionary journeys that he despised his life. God does not protect His children from trials and tribulations

8  For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;
9  indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NASB)

Christians Receive Comfort. Paul writes that God is the Father of all mercy and God of all comfort. Despite the afflictions that faced him, Paul knows that ultimately God gives the biggest hugs of all.

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4  who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5  For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

Christians Share Comfort. Paul says while the Corinthians share in his sufferings, they also share his comfort

6  But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;
7  and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

Application:

Becoming a Christian does not mean all your problems will instantly go away, and that life will forevermore be a bed of roses. In fact, as we read the Scripture, we see the opposite is often the case. Certainly we see that in Paul’s life. If an APOSTLE can face so much and continue on, we should endeavor to do the same.

Christians need comfort. We will face tribulations. Christians receive comfort from God who gives it abundantly. While God is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, He does not give us these mercies and comfort just to make us feel better but to help others as well. Warren Weirsbe said, “God’s comfort is not given, it is loaned, and you are expected to pass it on to others!”

 Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you found that giving comfort to others has a way of lessening the pain of your own trials?

Category: Relationships | Healthy Alliances