Invest in People
When you mention investing, what comes to mind for most people is investing in real estate or in the stock market. And every day as we watch the news, we hear about how well or how bad the market is doing. People have invested trillions of dollars, much more than we can comprehend, in the stock market. And each person who places his or her money there, does so with the hope that the stocks in their portfolios will do well and that they will make a profit. But, of course, it doesn’t always turn out that way!
Now, you may not have much invested in stocks, but you are still an active investor. Every time you say or do something, you are making an investment that will reap dividends either to the glory of God or to the glory of the flesh. Now, what I want to do today is to challenge you to become a wise investor—to invest wisely by investing in what matters most; to invest in people, and not just in houses and lands, in stocks and bonds.
Why people? Let me give you at least one good reason. C.S. Lewis wrote: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals, whom we joke with, work with, marry; snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” Every person you have ever met is immortal and will live forever as either an immortal horror in hell or an everlasting splendor in heaven. Let that sink in for a moment. Invest in people because they are the only thing immortal you can invest in.
When I look back on my life, I can clearly see that there were people who invested heavily in me. My number 1 investor was my mother. A year ago, she left this world for heaven. I miss her, but my mother lives on in me. By her love, her sacrifices, her faith and her prayers, she invested in me, shared her life with me, and made me who I am today. She planted seeds that will continue to bear fruit for many years to come.
My mother was my number 1 investor, but she was not the only person who poured into my life wisdom, knowledge, time and resources, without which I would not be who I am today. I remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Plaska, who by her words made me feel at that young age that I was special and that I could do great things with my life. I remember Pastor Conley, a Baptist pastor, who may not have been the greatest preacher, but who loved me and gave me an opportunity when I was a student to work with him. He invested in me in so many ways, including letting me borrow his Cadillac to take my new bride on her honeymoon because I was too poor to afford to rent a car! I remember my pastor, Bishop Laurore, who affirmed me in my call, believed in me, and ordained me to the ministry. And of course, Oral Roberts, who built a university on faith, saw my potential and decided to give me a scholarship to attend his school. All of these people invested in me and have a share in making me who I am today.
When we make investing in people our way of life, we are being like the Son of God. On one occasion, Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.” This expresses a philosophy of life that Jesus practiced. He knew that He would be lifted up and as a result of being lifted up would be in a position of great authority and power. Therefore, He made it His goal not to use that authority and power for the benefit of Himself alone. He made the quality decision that He would use His position to lift others up to a new position as well. When you make it your philosophy of life to invest in others, to lift other people up, you are living like Jesus lived. And when you live like Jesus did, you extend your influence to generations unborn.
“Now”, someone might ask, “what do I have that others need? I am not highly educated, I am not wealthy, I do not have any special gifts”. Sure, if God has blessed you with education and wealth you should use them to bless others, but the truth is, investing in other people does not require any of those things. Remember, the widow of Zarephath. What did she have? A little flour and a jar of oil! She could have kept it for herself and her son thinking that it was so little and that it would make no difference. But she didn’t. Instead, she decided to share it with Elijah; to invest in him. It was a sacrifice, but it was one well worth it. Not only did she feed the prophet, she ended up feeding herself and her son as the result. And this is a truth you need to know about investing in other people. When you add value to others, you add even more value to yourself. When you help others, you help yourself and you create a legacy from which even your children will benefit.
Don’t live a selfish life. Invest in what matters. And remember, at the end of your life, when you meet God, the only thing that will matter is, did you love Jesus and did you invest in people.