The book Rich Dad Poor Dadis one of the most popular books on investing and management of money. Here’s a portion of the summary on Amazon.com:
Rich Dad Poor Dad is Robert [Kiyosaki]’s story of growing up with two dads — his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad — and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.
The premise of the book is that wealthy people know things about money that the poor and middle classes do not. If you know and apply these principles, you can be financially wealthy too.Amazon.com
On Sunday morning, Jurie discussed the concept of waiting on the Lord, beginning in Hebrews 6:
When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.Hebrews 6:13-14, NIV
We have a hope that is guaranteed by God’s promise. Therefore, even though it’s still called “hope” because the full realization of the promises is in our future, we can have a level of certainty that is not normally associated with hope.
I’m a word person, as you might’ve guessed. I love language. I love the subtleties of meaning that come from using just the right word in a given context. So, in general, I tend to be put off by philosophers’ attempts to redefine words to mean something they were never intended to mean. Before I became a Christian, verses like Hebrews 6:19a tended to make me angry, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” If it’s secure, it’s not hope… it’s… well… surety. God’s economy is full of these little paradoxes. His ways are difficult to capture within the limits of human language because infinite anything is difficult for us to understand within the context of our finite lives on this earth. I’m reminded of this passage from 1 Corinthians:
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.1 Corinthians 1:19-22, NIV
Blaise Pascal, a famous theologian, philosopher, physicist, and mathematician (because who needs just one calling, right?) defined a famous argument for belief in God, called “Pascal’s Wager.” It goes like this: If I bet my life that God exists, and I’m right, then the rewards He has promised me are eternal and amazing. If I’m wrong, then I’ve just held a wrong belief and died anyway. If I bet my life that God doesn’t exist, and I’m right, then I just die at the end of my life. But if I’m wrong, I’ve lost out on an eternal, amazing inheritance.
I have to be honest here. When I was a non-believer, I found this argument specious at best and wicked at worst. I hated it with a passion. I thought that living according to a lie would destroy one’s life in the here and now, and I also thought that choosing to believe “just in case it’s true” could never lead to eternal life because God would know you’re just hedging your bets.
What I didn’t realize was that the benefits of belief accrue to us in the here and now, not just in the life to come. Rather than being like a bet at the craps table in Las Vegas, betting our lives on Jesus is more like a wise investment in a well-managed mutual fund.
I know a woman who’s over 90 years old, who lives in comfort and financial security, just off the interest from her investments. She found someone she could trust, who would manage her finances wisely, so that she could live well without ever cutting into her children’s inheritances.
I was talking with a young friend this week, who said she gets frustrated by the continual talk of our inheritance in sermons and in the Bible because she thinks the word is too forward-looking. She said, “I don’t believe because I’ll get to Heaven one day. I believe because of what God is doing in my life now.” I agreed with her that God blesses us now, but I likened it to living off the dividends of an investment. One day, you might cash in on that whole investment, but in the meantime, the dividends still shower blessing on us.
All investments carry some sort of risk and reward. Living for Christ can be risky. In our country, those risks tend to be rather minimal, but in some parts of the world (and for the Hebrews addressed in the Bible), being a Christian can prove risky for people’s very lives and livelihoods. When making risky investments, it is important to consider whether the rewards for the investments are worth the risk of losing everything.
When I became a Christian, despite hating Pascal’s wager, I decided I’d “try Christianity on.” I’d start acting like a believer, praying, and dipping one toe in the “belief pool.” After all, giving it a shot carried very little risk, but I could see possible rewards even in my very near future.
What I discovered, very quickly, was that my tiny investment in God paid huge dividends almost immediately. He blessed me so richly, it was nothing short of miraculous. Furthermore, the passages in the Bible that had frustrated me before started making a whole lot of sense, just as Paul discussed in 1 Corinthians 1.
Just like the principles in Rich Dad Poor Dad, I can see now that there are things that the “rich in God’s economy” know about life investment that the “poor in God’s economy” just don’t get. The rewards are so much greater than the risks, and the investment is worth every minute.
If you haven’t invested your life in Jesus, I encourage you to just give it a shot. Like someone who doesn’t yet trust the stock market, just put in a few minutes of your life at a time. Wait to see what God will do. He is faithful to give you immediate returns on your investment — returns like peace of mind, or clarity in a difficult situation, or better sleep. As your confidence in Him grows, it will become clear that this investment is worth your whole life, and the life to come.
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