CREDIT: Jernej Furman on Flickr

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Return on investment, or ROI, is a term associated with profits and losses. Most seek to maximize ROI. If we invest $100, 10 hours, or some other valuable commodity, we expect to receive more than we put in — the more the better! If we knew ahead of time that the ROI would be negative — $90, nothing but a sore body or broken ego, or some other negative experience — we wouldn’t be too excited to invest. ROI should be positive … the more the better!

And then we meet Jesus and hear His words. Jesus, as usual, turns things upside down. He says, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26) In truly countercultural words, Jesus seems to say losing something we desire — our lives — is a good thing. That gaining the world is a bad thing. 

Investing our lives in Jesus and His Word, trusting Him and faithfully following Him means losing our lives to Him and letting Him, rather than us or the world, guide what we do with our lives. We sacrifice our lives, not by dying on a cross, but by selflessly giving of our time, talent, and treasure to serve God, His church, and others as God’s will leads us. Responding to God’s love for us by “losing our lives” in this way leads to long-term gain.

There’s another investment philosophy that’s important, the long view. The idea that sometimes positive ROI takes time to show up. While others do the work, through ups and downs, they grow your investment over time. Jesus has done the work for us already. While the short view, losing our lives for Him, might seem like a losing proposition, it’s not. Eventually, when Christ returns, it yields eternal life in the kingdom of God. Now that’s ROI!

                                                                        In Christ’s Love,

                                                                        Pastor Jim