Sometimes it’s easy to expect a return on investment for almost everything we do. We buy a car, and we know they lose value instantly, but we research resale values because even though we’ve just purchased the car we’re already concerned about what return we can get on it later. We do the same with houses, cell phones, sometimes clothes, and even sometimes our children. All of this concern with ROI isn’t all that bad, in fact the Bible tells a story where 3 men are given a large sum of money, then the giver leaves and later comes back and checks to see what the 3 men did with their cash. The one who gave expected the men to DO something with it, and he was concerned about how responsible they were with what they were given. In other words, concern for return represents a posture of responsibility.
This week as we went OUT into the Wilson Ave neighborhood to give people Valentine cards and chocolates, this all was kind of in the back of my mind; this idea that we’re doing things, but we may not see movement for a long time, that the return on our investment may not be quickly realized or recognized. But then, of course, God shows his grace. It wasn’t that I was discouraged by these thoughts, but God is the perfect encourager. People were glad to see us! This isn’t different than the other times we’ve been out in the neighborhood, but different people were in their homes this time around and it was amazing to see their surprise. There was something so wonderful on their faces as we went door to door. Sure it was surprise, but more than that it looked like relief. They seemed genuinely hopeful that we were there. And it hit me, this is certainly a return on investment. Now we’re definitely planning for long-term as well, but sometimes it sure it nice to receive in the short-term too!
The cool thing about this, I think, is that it must work similarly for Jesus, too. I mean, look at 1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.” See that there? He FIRST loved us. He made the initial investment, and He’s still investing in us. I’m sure sometimes He’s please with us and that we bring Him joy. I’m sure sometimes he feels a short-term return. But I am also confident He’s planned for a long-term investment and a long-term return. The difference for Christ though, is that He is planning for so much more; He’s planning for us to be fully returned and restored to Him.
It is truly a blessing to have the privilege of going out in the cold to share that He loved us first.
Happy Valentine’s Day!