Investing is a term that is usually associated with money or even time. To invest is to give support or to apply your own resources into an entity or a mission. When you invest, you are giving what you have and placing it into what is hopefully profitable. There is such a thing as a ‘good investment’ and also a ‘bad investment.’ A good investment involves the allocation of resources toward something or someone that proves to be lucrative in the long run. It is the reception of positive gains that results from investing wisely.
However, a bad investment occurs when a resource that is given later yields poor results. Usually when a bad investment takes place, the person who invests does not benefit but rather there is a loss that occurs. Depending upon how poorly resources were invested, the loss may be minor or major. The truth is, with anything in life we are all investing in someone or something. At the same time, God has given each person a choice to invest in their life wisely or unwisely.
In the book of Luke chapter 19, particularly verses 11-27, Jesus presents a parable to a crowd of listeners. It was the ‘Parable of the Ten Servants.’ The overall summary of this parable was to highlight servants of a King who invested what they were given wisely and a servant who did not. Jesus begins with the following verses:
(NLT) “A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return. Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver, saying, ‘Invest this for me while I am gone.’ But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We do not want him to be our king.’”
In these particular verses, it is interesting to note two things:
1. God has chosen you to serve Him and fulfill His purposes – The fact is that God desires that you and I serve and worship Him. He gives you a choice in the matter, but it is beneficial to surrender your life to Jesus Christ so that you will experience the blessings of God. As in the scripture, the 10 servants were called to invest what the soon to be King had given to them. That is what God calls each person to do which is to invest with the life that He has given to us. Once Jesus Christ has been accepted as Lord and Savior, then there must be an investment in God’s Kingdom.
2. Humanity often refuses the Kingship of God – This means that there are those who haven’t given God the ability to have free reign in their life. In the scripture of Luke chapter 19, in verse 14, the people who were to be subjected to the individual chosen to be King in the parable did not want him to have authority over them. We can see blatant evidence of many who have made the choice to reject God’s authority which means that they are not subject to God and His Kingship. If you look at our world today, you can see the signs of what occurs when humanity rejects the authority and leadership of God. There is a de-evolution that occurs when we as humans decide that we want to be our own god or that we want to deny God’s involvement in our lives.
To grasp the principle of investing wisely or unwisely, there must be an examination of the next few verses:
(NLT) ““After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were. The first servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!’ “‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.’”
In these 3 verses, the servants are called in and they are assessed in order to discover the amount of profit they would provide to the King. In verse 16, one of the servants proclaimed that 10 times the original amount was made off of what the King had given. Of course, the King expresses his gratitude and pleasure towards the servant. In return, the servant was given governorship over ten cities.
In verses 18-19, another servant gives his report to the King in which 5 times the original amount of what was given was produced. The servant is rewarded with 5 cities to be the governor over. However, notice what occurs in verses 20-22:
(NLT) ““But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘Master, I hid your money and kept it safe. I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’ “‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I’m a hard man who takes what isn’t mine and harvests crops I didn’t plant, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’”
Based on the above scripture it may seem like the King was a bit harsh towards the servant, because the servant made the claim, “you are a hard man to deal with”. The servant essentially expressed his apprehensiveness and even what seemed to be distrust toward the King and what he does with the funds he is given. However, what the servant should have realized is that the money that he was given did not belong to him but to the King. The servant is then called, ‘wicked’ because he was disobedient and he failed to use what he was given to multiply.
Notice the final verses of this parable:
(NLT) “Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ “‘But, master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten pounds!’“‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.’””
In these verses, the judgment of the King is clear. The King orders that the money is taken from the servant who did nothing with it and that his portion be given to the servant who did the most. The King also instructs that those who use what they have been given well will receive more and those who do nothing will lose what they have.
The final instruction given is that those who despised the King and shunned his Kingship would be executed because they were considered to be enemies of the King. It is quite clear that in this parable the expectation and desire of God is that we as humans use what He has given to us.
All of us were given gifts and talents but also an opportunity to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. A major part of investing wisely is to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When you and I choose to surrender our lives and forsake our sin out of obedience unto Christ, we then have a new beginning. The reconciliation between God and humanity is only bridged when there is a repentance of sin and a rejection of it through the acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Another part of investing one’s life wisely is understanding that God desires to use each person for His glory. Many are squandering their lives looking for fulfillment in various ways, and yet their lives are wasting away. God wants to use the life that He has given to you to bring others to the knowledge and experience of His great love. Also, He wants to know you in intimacy which comes from an actual relationship with God through Christ.
The final thought to examine is that when we as humans reject God’s great love and Kingship, then we are considered to be His enemies or against Him. As a result, we ultimately lose the benefits that God offers through His blessings when we invest unwisely. To invest unwisely is to either invest in things that have no eternal value or not to invest in the things of God at all.
The question then becomes, are you investing wisely or unwisely? If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord & Savior, then you are unable to invest what you have wisely. The first step is to make the wisest decision possible which is to give your life to Jesus Christ. He will show you how to live for God and how to live in this life. By having a relationship with Christ, you will know what your purpose is and how to use God’s gifts for His glory and the benefit of others.