When you purchase stock in a company, you are in essence saying, "I will invest this money into your business in exchange for part ownership." If the company does well, the stock increases in value, and you as a common stock shareholder may even receive a dividend from the company.
You may have heard the names of investing and tech giants who have made a fortune, like Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Ronald Wayne. If you're wondering about that last one, just know that Ronald Wayne could have been on this list if he would have invested in something other than gambling.
Ronald Wayne worked side by side with two men who, like most ambitious tech engineers in the 1970s, decided to get into the burgeoning computer industry. Ronald helped develop the manual for their first computer and even came up with the original logo for the company, but since the company was so small, it paid Ronald in shares:10 percent of the entire company. Within two weeks, however, Ronald sold his shares. Why? Because he enjoyed slot machines and saw selling the shares as a quick way to get back to the casino. His heart was invested in his immediate pleasure more than an industry on the verge of changing the world.
As worship director here at Calvary Church, I oversee staff and volunteers alike and am continually asking them to invest their treasures, such as weekends, passions, and energy, into the kingdom of God. I encourage them with Jesus' words not to store up treasures for themselves, but to invest in the surest thing available: God's kingdom.
My team chooses to have a vested interest in life change by donating time to attend team meetings and rehearsals, showing up early and staying late so they can lead others in songs of worship and adoration. It's an effort that consumes time and energy, but the returns are everlasting. They are investing beyond themselves but reaping the blessings of participating in others' benefits.
When someone walks down front to accept the offer of salvation or when someone experiences a moment with God mid-song, those individuals are blessed, and our team reaps an otherworldly dividend. Anytime we can help someone praise God with all their heart, soul, and mind—focusing their attention on the only thing worth any of it, the Alpha and Omega—we're partnering in the only investment guaranteed to produce a positive return.
You too have a choice where to spend your time, efforts, energy, and money. You could be sleeping in on your day off instead of waking up early to work in the children's ministry. You could be playing golf or going to brunch instead of directing traffic or greeting people. There's nothing wrong with taking a break and recharging, but to pursue anything other than God is to be like Ronald Wayne—gambling away your shares on today with nothing to show for it tomorrow.
The alternative to a self-focused life is a selfless one in which you sow into the expansion of the kingdom of God. As 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully" (ESV). Want a massive harvest? Sow substantially into the ministry God has set before you.
As for Ronald Wayne? The company he helped start was Apple Computers, and his partners were Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The company stock he owned would be worth about 75.5 billion dollars today, but it was all wasted in a few hours at a casino. If earthly investments can turn out so richly, imagine what God's eternal rewards must be like.
We reap what we sow, so invest wisely. Invest your mind, heart, and soul in worshiping God, and then trust Him with your investments in His service, in whatever capacity God has called you to.
1 Chronicles 16:23-31