Last Friday I had the tremendous opportunity to talk about personal finance with a group of recent college graduates for a few hours. We had a great time (well, I did…hopefully they did as well). They were engaged and asked great questions, mostly around planning for the future and wanting to invest their money wisely. We also spent a while talking about giving and the impact it has on our own lives and on others. Then I got the question I usually get, “what do you see happening next to our country’s economy” (Translation: “Can you please tell us the future?”).
Why is this a good question? Usually because people want to plan better for the future, either to protect what they have or to know where to put what they don’t have yet but hope to get in the future. If you want to know how I answered, I told them what I usually say when I get this question, “I don’t know the future, but I know the One who does”.
I’m sure I’ll spend time in future blogs getting down to some nitty-gritty detail about investing tips and such, but as I thought about the group’s questions driving home, it struck me that I’d been thinking about “investing” in a very narrow-minded way. When I stacked it up with what I’ve learned in my walk in the Christian faith, I realized that even though we’re encouraged to save diligently for future needs and responsibilities, we are far more often reminded that everything around us will fade away, so we should invest in things that last forever.
Jesus made this point better than I ever could in the Gospel of Matthew, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Chapter 6, Verses 19-21)
And there it is. Do we need to save for future needs? Absolutely. But even more so, our hearts should be focused on what really matters in life, and our money and our investments should follow.
I don’t know what this looks like for you – it could be giving to your church and the work they do, to clean water projects around the world, supporting orphans and their care, or even anonymously helping a single mom out as she tries to make ends meet. I leave that up to you, but the point of all this is to remind us all that while our money on this earth will come and go, rise and fall, what we give with a generous heart lasts forever.