Investing in others yields great returns

Published 9:56 am Thursday, May 20, 2021

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Matthew 24:12 says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  
Unfortunately, this is what we see happening in today’s world. So many are filled with hatred and anger, and many of these individuals are professing Christians. Jesus spoke of the last days in this passage of scripture, and we certainly are living in these last days, but we do not have to become an end time statistic. He said the love of many would grow cold, but we do not have to be a part of that many. Jesus came to earth to do the work and will of His Father, and His Father was all about people.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son! The ministry, by definition, is about people. While it is true that we oftentimes of necessity get burdened with details of work and administrative tasks, ultimately, the ministry is about people. There have been times in my ministry where I have gotten tired of people, but when we boil everything down, you will find people at the core of what God is calling us all to do.
Matthew 22:36-40, ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  Loving God and loving those around us are the two greatest commandments.  It is possible to win people to Christ without really investing much into them?  I do not think it is!  I believe that we must invest time, energy, and money in others for them to truly understand and accept the love of God and to begin a relationship with Him.  Paul said in Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”   Can we really say that we love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and love others like ourselves? Are we really esteeming others above ourselves? These are some important questions! 
Investing in others brings great returns. The salvation of the soul occurs when we invest in the lives of others. Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, “ But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.”  If we want to invest in people, we must learn to empathize, and it must be genuine. Notice four very special words that Paul used:
Gentle—mild; meek; soft
Cherish—to treat with tenderness and affection; to give warmth, ease, or comfort to
Affectionate—having great love or affection; fond
Dear—of a high value in estimation; greatly valued; beloved; precious
Isn’t that something? These are terms we would typically use for our spouses or our children, but Paul used all four of these words to describe his attitude towards the people he was trying to reach. Paul understood the need to invest genuinely in others.  We must choose to be gentle, cherish others affectionately, and count them as dear.   We must guard against living an insulated life where we want to minister to people on Sunday morning, but don’t really lose much sleep over their trials the rest of the week. It seems as if this danger increases the longer we are saved because of the ever-increasing distance between our own lives and the baggage that a lost person or a young Christian often carries. Perhaps this is why oftentimes the best “empathizers” are new Christians. It wasn’t that long ago that they were in the same boat.
1 John 4:20 proclaims, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” It is impossible to love God if we don’t love others.  Jesus said this in Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” What we do for others is what we are doing for Jesus and what we choose not to do for others is what we have chosen not to do for Jesus.  It is very plain and simple.  We cannot go wrong by investing in the lives of others and showing them real love and compassion.  I would like to close with a true story I recently read online. 
Officer Ryan Holets is a father of four from Albuquerque, New Mexico. While out on patrol in September of 2017, Ryan came across a woman named Crystal Champ, and her companion Tom. When he found them, they were shooting up heroin behind a convenience store. Crystal was eight and a half months pregnant.
Concerned with the well-being of the unborn baby, Ryan tried to reason with Crystal. “You’re going to kill your baby,” he told her. The more they talked, the stronger Ryan felt God telling him to adopt Crystal’s baby.“Tell her that you will do it,” he recalls “because you can.”
Three weeks later, Ryan and his wife became parents for the fifth time, when Crystal gave birth to a baby girl, fittingly named Hope.  But their story doesn’t stop there.  Rather than sending Crystal and Tom to jail for their drug use, Ryan used his own resources to help the two addicts get clean.  Over the last several months, both Crystal and Tom have undergone a 90-day rehabilitation program in which Tom has graduated and Crystal is on her way to graduating and getting back on her feet. Ryan and his family are the very essence of what it means to invest in the lives of others. 
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)

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