If I invest, what will I gain in return?

We ask that question about our retirement strategies, asset management, and home improvements… but we also subconsciously ask it every day when trying to decide whether or not to help someone around us.

Here are five reasons to invest in the lives of others.

#1 – It can be a rewarding experience.

At Walmart, you can find the “law of sowing and repeating” in the same section where the law of gravity is sold. They are both realities of how life works most of the time.

When we invest in others’ lives, the nagging voice sometimes swells within us, “It’s a waste of time. You’ll never get that time back, money back, or opportunity back.”

Most of the time, however, the opposite is true. Investing in others brings great personal reward: physical, material, emotional, or spiritual.

Investing in others brings great personal reward. Click To Tweet

#2 – It can be a cheerful experience.

I used to think that the best way to invest in others was to survey my emotions to see who I cared about the most; subsequently, I would invest my time, talents or treasure in that person, cause, or organization.

However, Jesus (the most selfless man of all time) taught us…

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This universal law reminds us that it’s not best to let emotions lead our investments. Instead, our objective and rational investments will eventually lead us to love the people in whom we are investing. We actually have the power to direct our love through wise investments!

Parents and grandparents of college students experience this every day. Perhaps they attended College A decades earlier, and swore that they would never love College B. However, when their son or daughter grows up and attends College B–and they find themselves writing large checks to College B–they eventually start wearing College B swag. Even if reluctantly, College B finds a place in their heart.

Why? Because our objective and rational investments eventually lead us to love the people in whom we are investing!

Our objective and rational investments eventually lead us to love the people in whom we are investing. Click To Tweet

#3 – It will give you a higher purpose.

Who wants to simply live for the 9-to-5 or for the weekend? Who isn’t looking for greater significance, meaning, or a place to fit in the grander scheme of the universe?

Giving to others provides that sense of value.

#4 – Your perspective on your income will change dramatically.

Why does a farmer enjoy a fresh shipment of seed? Is it so he can fill his pockets with it? Store bags of it in the vault of the nearest bank? Spend countless hours counting it in her office?

No! Farmers order fresh shipments of seed for one reason: to give it away. Year after year they plant seed in hopes of harvesting a greater crop. For them, income isn’t simply income. Income is another opportunity to invest in even more income.

Is that how you view your money? Your time? Your skills?

#5 – You’ll leave a legacy.

What teacher meant the most to you as a child? Who was the coach who taught life-principles that still guide your decision making today? Who put the roof over your head as a teenager, or paid for the food in your stomach? Who mentored you in your current profession? Who helped make you you?

Those people have a living legacy. You!

In whom are you investing? Who will be better because of the dash between the dates on your tombstone?

History’s Best Example

The people in our church have come to see Jesus as the best example for investing in others. Actually, they believe He’s the only one to ever perfectly and selflessly sacrifice for everyone. They believe Jesus invested in the world when He originally created it. Even though humanity broke the world with our poor choices… Jesus returned two millennia ago to save us, transform us, and promises to one day restore us in the world to come.

The people in our church don’t invest in others to earn God’s favor. We invest in others because God first invested in us. Like exhaling is the natural response to inhaling, investing in others is the spiritual response to receiving God’s love.

Whether that’s your conclusion or not, invest in someone’s life today. Ask yourself, “Does the fulfillment I get from serving others point me to a natural, random reality, or does it point me to a supernatural, intentional reality beyond human explanation?”

Matt Friend serves as the Senior Pastor at Bible Center Church and is a native of Charleston, WV who loves to read and run. He and his wife (and high school sweetheart!), Sarah, are raising two teenage daughters, Katie and Riley.