By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
In the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 three servants are given a certain amount of money to invest for their Master in hopes to yield a return.
The first two invested their talents and in time see an abundant harvest double in size, but the third servant chose to bury his talent in the ground to hide it. His talent yielded nothing because it was hidden away.
In the same way, we have an opportunity with the time we are given to invest in others and ourselves to yield not only harvest for the gardens of our lives, but ultimately for the Kingdom of God.
James 1:19 encourages, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” when it comes to interacting and investing in others.
When we take time to thoughtfully listen and absorb what the other person is sharing we come to know more of the whole picture. In any relationship communication is key, but so is listening and really taking in what the other person is conveying.
Dwell upon how Jesus invested in others during His ministry. He would listen, though He knew already before the person spoke what was in their heart. They did not feel overlooked though because He took the time for them to express their hearts.
In the same way, we can follow this example by tuning an ear.
Time perhaps is one of the most valuable currencies in this life.
JRR Tolkien wisely stated, “But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
When it comes down to it, it is up to us how we choose to use the time given to us. We can squander it away like the servant who buried his talent did, or we can invest it in God, others, and ourselves.
This does not always look the same way each time. At times, it can be a focused and intentional conversation with someone, or it can be just enjoying a meal, laughs, or an activity with someone.
Time is a precious thing, something no one knows for sure how much they will have, but when it is invested well there are no regrets when we come to the end of our lives. You will never regret taking the time for an extra hug, taking the time to tell someone you love them, or taking the time to just laugh with someone.
3. Thoughtful Awareness
An important aspect of investing can come from being thoughtfully aware of others as well. This in application could look like thoughtfully choosing a birthday gift for someone.
Really think or even pray to find something that will make them feel valued, important, and cherished. Being thoughtful and helping someone feel seen and known is one of the greatest ways to invest in another person.
Recalling important events, dates, or facts about someone’s life is another way to be thoughtfully aware. If you are really wanting to invest in someone and they share something with you that is important to them, such as an upcoming stressor and checking back in with them about the results, or praying with them beforehand they will feel invested in.
It is also a place where we can come to become aware of things outside of our own bubbles. Perhaps God will in time teach you something about your own life or about Him through your thoughtful and intentional awareness of others.
Becoming thoughtfully aware in your own life is also a way to invest in yourself.
Take note of the things that trigger your anxieties or fears and take captive those thoughts to place before the Throne of God. This action will in turn assist you to take those burdens to Him, but also invest in your relationship with Him to see His response back.
Often the greatest revelations with God can come through becoming aware of ourselves and sharing and bringing that to God. Ask Him today for assistance in that, you do not do that alone.
Watch and see what He does in turn.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Prostock-Studio
4. Being in the Moment
Being present truly enough has become something to fight for in our fast pace world. Phones ring, watches ding, and computers alert us to things to fight for our attention on a momentary basis.
When we really want to invest in someone these electronic tools may be used for communication over the phone or written message, but they should be used in a way that they do not keep us from being present.
This takes the conscious action of unplugging or placing the distraction on silent. This also takes the conscious action of switching off the distractions from our brains of work, the game on later today, or the big to-do list to redirect our attentions to what is in front of us and what we truly want to invest in.
This can be towards another person we want to invest in, towards God in giving Him our full attention, or towards ourselves in being mindful to care for ourselves. Being present in itself is a present, or a gift.
Don’t waste such a gift having your mind or eyes wandering elsewhere.
A broken cistern or vessel will not pour out well, and the same goes for us when we are pouring from an empty or cracked heart.
Self-care is not selfish, but it is really investing in yourself so that you can invest in others well. This act can look like taking time to yourself, feeding yourself good and healthy food, or a long walk alone on a lovely Autumn night.
Care-taking hearts so often want to care for others and strive to ensure the well-being of everyone else that their own selves pay the price for neglect. This is where self-care and self-preservation arise as something that is not selfish, but necessary.
Self-care can look like care-taking actions we generally think of, but it can also be actions of investing in yourself. Perhaps taking a class or learning a new skill, reading a book to gain new knowledge, or allowing time for good exercise.
These are all great ways to invest in your own mental, spiritual, and physical health that are self-care.
Repair the cistern first, so that you can pour out to others well when the time arises.
6. Spending Time with God
Investing time with, for, and in God is the greatest way we can invest in others and ourselves.
Having prayer time in communication with God allows us to mindfully and consciously invest time with our Creator.
This prayer time can come forward in gratitude to the Lord for Who He is and how He treats us. This time can also be to intercede and pray for another person, investing in them with the Only One Who can bring forward good and lasting change.
Lastly, this time can be to come to know His Spirit and character all the more.
In the story of the talents we often think about the harvest yielded in terms of money, success, or tangible means, but what if we considered the investment of the talents to be in the time, awareness, listening, presence, and relationship with God Himself?
Not saying that we spend time with God for the harvest, but that we come before Him to know Him all the more, and to be truly known, and the inevitable result in itself would be an abundant harvest beyond would we could imagine or craft in our own minds.
Time spent with God in His Word, through prayer, or through praise is always the greatest investment.
Matthew 6:19-21 shares, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also.”
This is speaking about where we invest our time, our hearts, and our efforts here on earth. This can look different for everyone, but in the end the same goal of where we invest shows where our hearts reside.
These investments we grow on earth in other people, in ourselves, and most importantly in God will be things that cannot be stolen or eaten away, rather, they will eternally live on in Heaven far beyond our lifespan.
Because at the end of the day, investments are love and when we invest well, we love well.
Cally Logan is a writer and teacher from Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from Regent University. Currently, she is a writer for Dear Sparrows Ministry site, and the Podcast, "Dear Sparrows." In her free time, she enjoys leading a high school girls’ small group, cooking, and spending time in tree houses. Her latest books, Dear Young Sparrow and Unveiled are available everywhere or at https://dearsparrows.com/.