My eighth graders are working, hopefully, on their Talents Project, a tradition in our middle school Bible classes. This is about my own personal struggle with investments, from June 9, 2010.
A little over two months ago, we settled our parents' estate and each sibling received a check. Mine was reduced by $2000 for LASIK surgery which my folks paid for seven years ago, my best investment ever. Without going into detail, the dispersal of funds made me wealthier than I have ever been which is saying little. At Christmas, I spoke with my nephew, Zach, a financial planner, about my finances and making my money work for me. Christian school teachers have no retirement fund to speak of and even though it's years away, I know I need to make some changes past simply depositing my salary into a checking account. So, my first step was opening a savings account, the first one in my name since I was in grade school. After six weeks of this lump sum racking up interest for me, I looked at my bank statement. In the interim, my inheritance had exploded by the incredible total of...38 cents. I knew intellectually interest rates are low but I had no idea there would be that little profit from my investment. Looks like I need to diversify!
One of the best known teachings of Jesus is the Parable of the Talents. You know the story. A master is leaving for a time and gives three servants money to use for him, basing the allotment on their respective abilities. The one with five talents made five more and the one with two also doubled his money. But the one talent servant buried his, venturing neither time nor effort nor risk. The master richly rewards servants 1 and 2 but condemns the last man. Calling him wicked and lazy, the master tells him he should have at least deposited the money with bankers so he could have earned some interest on what he was entrusted with. Instead, he only received back what he had awarded initially, and it wasn't enough. There had to be some proof of the servant being an asset and there was none.
Do you ever feel like you're the third guy, wasting your gifts from the Lord that were bestowed on you at birth? Does it ever seem like you squander the opportunities or fail to enter the wide open doors the Father has placed in your path? Rarely do I feel like servant A or B. And, I don't really feel like servant #3 when he buried what the master gave him. Instead, I feel like the third worker had he, as chastised by the master, put his talent in the bank at my current rate of interest. I have this feeling that my interest accrued in the kingdom of heaven approximates the 38 cents on my Chase Bank savings account. I mean, I have something to show but it isn't what it could be. Hebrews 4:13 tells us that, ''Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.'' I will never be saved on my own merit or earn my way into heaven but I know- and you know- that much is expected of the children of the Most High. I can return the investment to our merciful accountant at a higher rate and with larger dividends than I am currently yielding....and we never know how near we are to the final audit. We need to keep our affairs in order.
Applicable quote of the day:
''Save a little money each month and at the end of the year you'll be surprised at how little you have.''
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