By Laura Adams
It is not only a worldly concept to invest for the greatest return. The Lord has also commanded us to invest and steward our “treasures” wisely. The real difference between the two is the currency we invest. Jesus made it very clear that no one can love two masters. We will love one and hate the other. We will serve whatever we love because we are designed that way. We are worshipers at heart and whatever we desire most will consume our thoughts and our time. (Matt 6:24)
The reason we invest anything is because we want to increase the quantity of what we value. We will always sacrifice in order to have what we believe will bring us the greatest joy and fulfillment. What The Lord is teaching us is to discern what is truly treasure.
Throughout all of Scripture, God is exposing the desires of our disordered hearts and at the same time, displaying the glory of His great worth. For those who will see it, Jesus is the greatest Treasure…
Even so, to intentionally develop intimacy with God seems to be so much harder than to merely accumulate pleasures for personal consumption. The expectations of friendship are overwhelming and the cost of being fully known is oh so high…
Yet, Jesus spent His entire earthly ministry developing “Relational Currency.” He publically displayed the personal relationship that He and His Father had always enjoyed, and invited His followers to join Him in the joy of this eternal “Oneness…” There was never a time that He sacrificed the love of His Father or His love for His friends for the sake of personal gain… even to His own hurt.
This is “Covenant Love.”
It is intentional…
It is unconditional…
And it is eternal.
By our fallen nature, we are contractual instead of covenant. Or highest allegiance is to our selves. We are conditional lovers; playing games of give and take, and in this we prove that our own comfort and happiness is our highest affection. When others disappoint us, (even God) we can find ourselves withdrawing from the relationship because our investment isn’t paying off…
Relational Currency that is invested by faith in the reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can never be lost or stolen. This kind of love is protected by the fully secured perimeter of grace!
God has gone before us in every way to show us how love is actually the act of spending a treasure that can never be depleted! This can only happen if we are freed by grace to give generously of ourselves. This is the response of those who have genuinely placed their trust in the bank of Heaven’s Highest Treasure! The source of our eternal joy and fullest satisfaction can only be found in the love of Christ and in the friendship with those who love Him in return.
Our sorrows will become half as heavy and our joys will be doubly sweet if and when we learn this simple truth.
Sometimes it’s hard to “flesh” this out. Even genuine Christians are still self-centered and self-protective. But to be professing what we are not progressively practicing is in essence deceiving ourselves into an even more confusing and dangerous place.
Sometimes we think our personalities or our nature can excuse whether or not we are “relational.” Yet, we are busy investing ourselves somewhere 24 hours every day. Wherever we “spend” ourselves, tells us what our priorities are.
Some say our checkbook and calendar will give us a good clue, and I agree! But to take an even closer look…
What makes us angry?
What causes jealousy?
What produces our quarrels?
The truth is, these outbursts tell us something about our own hearts.
James tells us that our own desires are at the root of these troubles. We fight and quarrel because the desire for “our pleasures” are at war. (Read James with this mindset…)
This is at the center of Jesus command that we must love the Lord our God with all our hearts and love our neighbor as our self.
Otherwise we will default to loving ourselves as if we were God, and demand that our neighbor love us as we love ourselves.
This is pretty scary.
We think we are just fighting with each other, but in reality, we are fighting against God Himself!
And yes… God commands that we love one another… it is not an option.
Selfishness at its core is the disordered worship of self rather than God.
The whole world is full of self-worship!
Everyone who puts their own needs ahead of others will end up protecting themselves in fear and frustration.
While everyone else is contending and competing with one another, this should not be so among Christians!
The “world” will only see us truly belonging to Jesus by our love for one another. Our gifts and our achievements can always be counterfeited for selfish motives, or worse, lead us back into pride. But the love that flows from Christ and enables us to deny ourselves will always glorify Him… and not us. (Jn 15:12, Jn 13:35)
This is why covenant love is so amazing… and different.
What would it look like to love like that?
What would it feel like to be loved like that?
It doesn’t matter what season of life we are in…
Whether we are married or single, with children or childless…If we have truly received the good news of what God has done, we will learn to depend on Him to be present with us as we are present with others. We will learn to trust Him to give us the grace to love…But only if we have the desire to do so.
It is the message of the Gospel that fulfills my longing.
… So that I do not need others to complete me.
It is the message of the Gospel that gives me my identity.
… So that I do not need to defend myself.
It is the message of the Gospel that gives me value.
…So that I do not need to compete with anyone.
THIS IS FREEDOM!
Freedom from self…
Freedom to love others extravagantly!
Because the knowledge of the gospel fulfills me, it is my JOY to love others and walk alongside in covenant friendship.
Love is the only currency you can spend on earth and “purchase” its benefits now and for all of eternity! This is the only way to truly invest in the Kingdom of God.
The “world” talks of “Return on your investment…”
If indeed we have been awakened by the gospel, we long for the Great Return of Jesus Himself!
If we also understand that Jesus is the greatest treasure, the investment that the Lord is asking of us is something He has already purchased for us by the Cross! One day we will all stand before Him and we will give an account of what He has given us.
So my sisters…
If the love of Christ has freed you, spend yourselves in the relationships you already have!
Become the daughter that honors her parents…
Become the wife that lovingly submits to her husband as unto the Lord Himself…
Become the mother who raises her children in the love and admonition of the Lord…
Become the sister you dreamed of…
Become the friend you long for…
The command to love is hard… but clear.
Of course there will be conflict… That we might display His reconciliation
Of course there will be offense… That we might learn to forgive, as we are forgiven
Of course there will be a temptation to give up… May we display the love of our Covenant God who will never leave us nor forsake us.
But please, please, contend for covenant love…
It is the goodness of the Lord that leads us to repentance!
It is His joy that is our strength!
Each moment we live is an opportunity to invest what God has given to us.
Genuine love cannot be lost… it only grows and multiplies in the giving!
Jesus prayed for our unity… but not just coexisting tolerance of one another. (John 17) His desire is that we enter into the fullness and “oneness” of the Living and Loving God!
Here at Heritage, we endeavor to cultivate opportunity for faith-friendships. But let us go beyond the building and into our everyday reality with the confidence and joy of those who are truly investing for the Great Return!
We cannot “share” what we do not own…
We must seek to “know” and ourselves be “Known…”
May His Word bear fruit in the lives we live…
And May His Love bring light to the Truth we give…
Walking alongside by His grace…