Have you ever sat down with a well-educated financial advisor? No disrespect to anyone in that profession, but speaking to one is like your first day in a foreign language class. You know when the teacher walks in and immediately begins to speak in German or French or whatever language you may be studying? That’s what it’s like to sit down with most financial advisors as they pour over every detail of the stock and bond markets and how specific individual investment vehicles are the wisest choice for your family. I feel completely lost and inadequate in the presence of someone who’s business it is to understand wise financial investment.
It’s not as is if their job isn’t important though. We’re all faced with the realization that one day we might want to retire and it might be a good idea to get our financial portfolio in order. What’s interesting is the time we spend doing so. We citizens of affluent countries like the U.S. spend countless hours worrying over our retirement accounts and whether or not we’ll have enough money to live comfortably into old age. The entire financial planning business exists solely to make us feel more comfortable about our future, and many times leads into idolatry of money and the things it can buy.
It doesn’t always work out so well either. I can remember our country’s most recent financial collapse about a decade ago and the fear that it struck in the minds of many. You see, when you spend your life accumulating wealth, only to see it disappear in a matter of days because of poor lending practices or corporate greed, it’s a sobering reminder that our financial security is not all it’s cracked up to be. I still recall talking to folks who were visibly devastated by the loss of their retirement accounts and who were even considering drastic measures to fix their situation. It’s sad that the love of money is truly the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In light of the passage above, I want to ask a simple, yet profound question. Do we strive to be as spiritually wealthy as we do financially? I imagine this is much more of a first world problem while our Christian brothers and sisters in third world or war-torn countries are trying to simply survive. And I completely agree that good stewardship of God’s blessings would compel us to spend time using our resources wisely. But do we even spend an equal amount of time or more growing our spiritual portfolio? I ask because Jesus was very candid about our heart residing where we store our treasures.
Spiritual wealth cannot be taken away from us. The trying times of this world cannot subtract from our spiritual investments. Not so with worldly wealth. All it takes is one corrupt politician, one major war, or even several simple banking mistakes to leave us high and dry. It’s easy to fall into the trap of treasuring worldly things. Who wouldn’t like more money? It brings us comfort and more control over our future. But it also brings thorns into our life that can choke out our desire to seek and serve God first (Matthew 13:22). Our focus on wealth can easily blind us to the One who truly provides our sustenance.
What does a spiritual portfolio look like you may ask? Where do I invest and how do I store up treasures for myself in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroy? Look to add these to your spiritual investments:
- Righteousness (Matthew 6:33)
- Mercy (James 2:13)
- Justice (Zechariah 7:9)
- Love (John 13:34-35)
- Forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32)
- Contentment (1 Timothy 6:6)
- Giving (2 Corinthians 8:7)
- Service (Ephesians 6:7)
Pray to God today that he will advise you towards a wise spiritual investment strategy. Give the time and energy needed to grow these attributes in your life. And the best part is, this spiritual portfolio will pay dividends into eternity far greater than you could ever imagine.