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How to Make Wise Investments

 

Jim Davis

 

Matthew 13:44-46

 

So much has happened over the last couple of years with investment portfolios most are asking how they can make wise investments. We have seen the books cooked in so many corporate scandals we are leery of putting our money in any place except our own pockets. Even if you feel you have nothing to invest you are wondering what kind of future we are looking at with the financial markets. Even bank Certificates of Deposit are paying less than 3%. As U. S. jobs move to foreign countries we can only wonder at what is in store. Wouldnít you like to know how to make wise investments regardless of what happens in the financial markets?

 

Have you ever wanted to know how to make wise investments? Some of us here this morning may not be worried about investments. We may feel as though we donít have anything to invest, so what difference does it make. But you are the ones who need to pay special attention to this lesson. You may have more to invest than you realize, and I would like to help you develop an eye for a good investment.

 

You have seen television commercial programs where someone is telling you how you can become a millionaire through buying and selling real estate, and you donít have to have a dime to invest. You can even do it with bad credit or no credit at all. What I am going to talk about this morning is no real estate scheme. It is more real.

 

The Bible Is About Making Good Investments

 

The story of the Bible is about a God who promises to take care of you, if only you will invest your life in his purposes. Godís call to Abraham was accompanied with the promise that he would make Abrahamís name great and multiply his descendants as the sands of the sea. God also promised Abram he would bless those who blessed Abraham; he also promised to curse those who sought to curse Abraham. This was an important aspect of Godís promise in the ancient world.

 

Ancient rulers favored those relationships where they thought the gods or God of those they favored would bless them. They understood their relationship with such individuals was a great investment. Daniel survived in a dangerous world during the rise and fall of the Babylonian Empire because the ruthless rulers understood Danielís God would bless them for showing favor to Daniel. They respected and feared Danielís God. That is also how Joseph became the one in charge of all Egypt.

 

This is why you see many of the ancient kings throughout the Old Testament giving small fortunes to Godís people. They understood Israelís God blessed those who blessed his people.

 

The God of heaven assures us that our lives are reciprocal. What we get has everything to do with how we invest. It has nothing to do with how much you have to invest. ďGive, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38 NIV) Donít miss the point! The emphasis here is not on the quantity. Giving good measure has more to do with the quality than the quantity, and the quality of your gift is determined by your motive and purpose for the gift.

 

The economics of investing in Godís purposes is governed by the mathematics of supernatural law. If the motive for the gift is to help Godís cause, or to bless Godís people, God will pour his blessings into your lap.

 

1 Kings 17:5-16

5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

 

7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?" 11 As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."

 

12 "As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread-only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it-and die."

 

13 Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.'"

 

15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah. NIV

 

This woman who lived in Sidon was not an Israelite. The Israelites considered her a heathen. Listen to what Jesus has to say about her as he rebuked the faithlessness of Israel.

 

Luke 4:25-27

5 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed-only Naaman the Syrian." NIV

 

Jesus makes the point that the unbeliever was blessed because she had more faith than Godís chosen people. She surrendered all she had to God, even though all she had was very little. God multiplied his blessing to her. Itís the same principle God gave to Abraham. He would bless those who blessed his people; it doesnít matter whether the person is a believer or non-believer. God blesses those who bless his children. You canít make a better investment than helping Godís cause. It makes no difference whether you are a believer or a non-believeróGod does want you to believe so you can be saved. But donít think for a moment that God doesnít take note of how you bless his people.

 

One spouse may be a Christian and the other is not, but God will bless the non-believer in that union if he/she blesses the believing spouseís efforts to be faithful to God. You must never forget, God not only causes it to rain on the just and unjust alike, but he also blesses the believer and the non-believer alike.

 

2 Kings 4:1-7

4:1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves."

 

2 Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?"

 

"Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil."

 

3 Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side."

 

5 She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one."

 

But he replied, "There is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing.

 

7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left." NIV

 

We begin to see how the mathematics of the supernatural God works. The only problem I have with this story is she didnít collect enough jars. I am not sure what motivates me to feel this wayóit may be greedóbut thatís how I feel.

 

If you have lost the point of the sermon it is simple: make an investment in Godís kingdom. Itíll be the best return you will ever get.

 

Matthew 13:44-46

44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

 

45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. NIV

 

Matthew 6:28-34

28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. NIV

 

How Do I Make Good Financial Investments

 

You can invest in Godís kingdom; it doesnít make any difference whether you have good credit, bad credit, or no credit. You can afford to make the investment. The Bible characters we have been looking at made wise investments in Godís kingdom when they didnít have anything to invest. All they had was faith, and very little of that, they may have been acting more out of desperation than faith.

 

Making wise investments in Godís kingdom doesnít have anything to do with how much you have to invest, but it has everything to do with managing, or handling what little you have properly. I have seen people with very little income live better than those who have large incomes simply because of principles of good management. God blesses good management, because good management reveals your appreciation for the little you have. Today we have a greater need for good managers than we do for increased incomesódonít get me wrong, pay raises are needed. However, pay raises do little good if we only use them to increase our expenses needlessly.

 

Successful businesses persistently look for ways to cut their overhead. The same principle can be used in running our household. Donít feel as though you have to increase your spending just because you got a pay raise.

 

To handle or manage money you must set priorities in your spending. Your first priority is to your family. Donít think for a moment that God wants you to deprive your family of its basic needs to give to money to the church. The Pharisees sought to give to the temple what their parents needed, but they broke the command to honor their fathers and mothers (Matthew 15:1-7).

 

1 Timothy 5:8-10

8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

 

9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. NIV

 

Here is the principle of reciprocal blessings again; the widow would be blessed by God people because she sought to bless Godís people. We are blessed by God when we seek to be a blessing to our family and others.

 

I have discovered managing finances for a family is difficult. Spending unwisely on things you really could live without before you take care of the essential needs is a bad investment. There is no way you can put God first doing so. If you want God to bless what little you have, make sure you make a wise investment in the essential needs of your family.

 

Learn to be content with food, shelter, and clothing. Two-thirds of the world doesnít have these basics. You can only do it by putting first things first. Take care of the essentials firstóhousing, utilities, transportation, food and clothing. These things are not optional. These are essentials.

 

Let no debt remain outstandingóor should we say pay your bills. ďGive everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the lawĒ (Romans 13:7-8 NIV). Investing in paying out debts as we promise is a great investment. Donít pay penalties for late payments. Late payments increase interest on your dept exponentially. If you pay a $25.00 late fee on a $200 dollar credit card payment each month, you increase the interest rate on that loan 12.5 percent per year.

 

The more responsible you are with what little you have, the more God multiplies it. I remember supporting my family through college. The first thing we paid was rent and utilitiesóthen came the car payment, we had to have transportation. With what little money we had left we would scrounge around the grocery store eating only what was on sale. If what we wanted to eat wasnít on sale, we didnít eat it. Truthfully, I still live this way. Of course, we eat out more now than we did then, but when I buy groceries, I still use the same practices as we did when were going through college. Most families have a greater potential for saving money in their kitchen expenses than any other area. This is especially true if you donít have any money to invest anywhere else.

 

As I look around many of us could probably cut our grocery bill in half just by going on a diet. This would be an excellent investment in our health, which would also save a lot of money in and of itself.

 

Remember, you will always have more to invest in Godís purposes when you use what little you have responsibly for those God wants you to provide for. My wife and I have a couple of relatives who refuse to live responsibly. They spend their money on everything but the necessities, then they want to get money off their relatives so they can pay for the necessities. Their parents depleted their resources bailing them out each time they were about to lose everything. The parents are all dead and this couple is in worse condition today than ever. They are a burden to their children. Their lives are deplorable. They always made more money than those who tried to help them, but they refused to manage their financial affairs. They have hit bottom. They were doomed to hit bottom years ago, but their parents wouldnít let them hit bottom. Now they are in their fifties, and getting off bottom will be harder than ever. However, it can be done as soon as they become responsible with the little they have. I would like to send them to a course on money management. They have never enjoyed Godís supernatural laws of mathematics kicking in on their finances.

 

I know of an elder who taught a member of his congregation how to manage finances. She had consistently asked the church for help over the years. The elder asked her if he could look at her bills and help her manage her finances. She has never had to ask for financial help again.

 

There are times when even the most responsible will need help. Abraham faced famine, Joseph faced hardship, Elijah was fed by ravens during the drought. We have helped responsible individuals in the past that had fallen on hard times. I remember three people who gave the money back to the church when they got back on their feet. No, they werenít asked to do that, but they wanted to be responsible. One couple has moved away, but every time the young woman visits our worship service, she puts a check in the offering for the express purpose of paying back what we gave her family. I hate to hear that she does it. It was meant as a free gift with no obligation to repay it. I think they could still use the money, but you see she is making a wise investment with the little she has. And God will multiply her investment.

 

Investing in Godís purposes is essential, for Godís supernatural law of mathematics doesnít kick in until youíve invested it.

 

Conclusion:

 

The religious teachers came to Jesus asking, ĎTell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?Ē Jesus replied, ďShow me the coin used for paying tax.Ē They brought him a denarius. Jesus asked them, ďWhose portrait is this? And whose inscription? ďCaesarĒ they replied. Jesus then said, ďGive to Caesar what is Caesarís and to God what is Godís.Ē

 

Jesus didnít stop with ďGive to Caesar what is Caesarís.Ē The lesson wasnít complete, because the most important point was what followed: ďGive to God what is Godís.Ē

 

Just as Caesarís image was on that coin, Godís image and inscription are on us.Ē When we give to God what belongs to God his law of supernatural mathematics kick in. But first you have to give yourself to the Lord for his keeping.

 

 

 

 

 

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