Return on Investment

Return on Investment

Have you ever spent a significant amount of effort, money or time on a particular thing? Maybe it was attending college. Maybe it was a new washer and dryer. Maybe it was a stock or mutual fund.

According to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary, Return on Investment (ROI) measures the gain or loss generated on an investment relative to the amount initially invested. ROI is typically used for personal financial decisions, to compare a company’s profitability, or to compare the efficiency of different investments.

Many professions require a tremendous investment of effort, money, and/or time to gain the trust of the public. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, surveyors, social workers, etc…the list is long. All expend an incredible effort, hoping that the investment they made will produce a “return” of financial gain, job security, career satisfaction, or many other personal goals.

But I think “Return on Investment” applies to so much more than just the financial industry and professional careers. For example, I have purchased tools, appliances, and mutual funds, and have experienced mixed results. Some lasted a long time and were a great buy; others were cheap and didn’t fulfill their promises.

(Put your seatbelt on, it’s about to get deep)

So what about Christ? If you are a follower of Christ, what has been the cost? What has resulted from your investment?

Spiritual Return on Investment can be both so obvious, and so difficult to see. On one hand, we can count the number of people who enter and leave Immanuel on any given Sunday. We can count the number of people who check “Christian” on the US Census. On the other hand, it is so difficult to see into the inmost heart of a person, and their spiritual maturity.

I personally believe that we have a fantastic church staff and lay-person leadership (committees, deacons, etc.) that are guiding Immanuel in the right direction. But the Great Commission is both a corporate (churchwide) command and a personal (ME) command.

Though we don’t often acknowledge it, we have a finite amount of time, energy, and effort in this life. It is so easy to chase after things that don’t last like money, fame, possessions, residences, etc.

Christ challenged His disciples to invest into faithful people, who would invest in others. It’s such a simple, multiplicative model that it almost sounds silly. But here we are, 2,000+ years later, living proof that the model works.

Lucky for us, “people” is who surround us every day! It’s our children, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. And though we may not see the full results of our efforts within our lifetime (or maybe 10, 20, or 100 lifetimes), the “return” on our investment is something that will last for eternity!

I challenge you in 2018: What are you investing in? Or better yet, who are you investing in?