Over recent weeks I have had a number of conversations with people about how we can best invest in the future. When it comes to investing in the future, I think about investing in two things - money and people. With our money, generally we spend it or we invest it. When we spend it, we never see again. When we invest our money wisely, it multiplies. And we also do the same thing with our lives. We can spend them or invest them. A life spent selfishly on ourselves will be gone. But a life investing in others will multiply in generations to come.
The Apostle Paul reminds us about the importance of investing in future. He encouraged Timothy by saying,
"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Tim 2:2, NIV).
In this passage we see Paul investing in Timothy, and in turn, Timothy investing in others. As I look at my life, I am grateful for the many people that have invested in me. As soon as I became a Christian, faithful men and women took time to invest in me and help me to grow and mature as a Christian. And in the same way, I have enjoyed the opportunities that I have been given to invest into the lives of others and to help them grow in their faith.
But what things need to be entrusted to reliable people so that they can teach others? In order to understand what Paul had in mind, we read later in his letter to Timothy,
"You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them" (2 Timothy 3:10,11).
Essentially Paul was saying that he invested his whole life in others. He lived his life in such a way that others could follow. Paul’s beliefs, his character and his life style were all an example that Timothy could follow. Timothy knew all about Paul - his teaching, his way of life, his life purpose, his faith, his patience, his love, his endurance, and the persecution and suffering he had endured. And in the same way that Paul invested in the future of Timothy, if we want to invest in future generation, we need to look to God and ask him to bring people into our lives with whom we can share all these “things” that He has entrusted to us.
So can I encourage you to look at the people that God has placed in your life. How can you invest in their Christian journey. How can you be praying for them? What can you be teaching them about the Christian life? Is there any way you can encourage them in their faith journey? Are you being an example that they can follow? How are you showing love to them, and to others? What can you do to ensure that they are growing strong in their faith, and multiplying their faith to others.
And as you do this, can I encourage you to take time to be thankful to those that have invested into your life. Thank God for their faithfulness and their willingness to invest in you.