Are your time investments yielding a good return?
BY DIANE NAUGLE
What does Investing mean? To invest is “to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable return. To use, give, or devote (time, talent) as to achieve something.”
In financial investments, we know that the money invested is set apart, untouchable for a period of time, and may yield a return. Sometimes waiting for a return is difficult for us. We have become an “instant gratification” society, whether it be for information, communication or even in expecting returns for our investments. For that reason, we may be tempted to pour our time into something that gives us a quick response, even though what we are doing has no lasting value. When this happens, we are just spending, not investing, our time.
We need to practice the virtue of patience and learn how to wait the right way. Investing time means you see the value in yourself and in what you are doing, and that you have confidence that there will be fruit, even if it takes a while, and it is not currently evident. There are two important investments that we should always be making;
Investment #1 – Spending time with God.
This is the most important investment. Investing time in our relationship with God and His Word helps us to get to know Him. As we get to know Him, He reveals who we are and the plans He has for us. As we discover our true identity in Christ we actually will make better decisions with our time. Being led forth by His spirit and peace is an amazing “time saver.”
When we only invest our time in others, we are ignoring Jesus’ commandment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Because we live and minister out of the overflow of time spent with God, it's imperative that we invest time in His presence.
Because we live and minister out of the overflow of time spent with God, it's imperative that we invest time in His presence.
Yes, I said it! You are valuable and worth the investment of time. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Perhaps part of God’s plan for you involves furthering your education. That can be quite an investment of time, but it may be important for the future He has planned for you. He wants you to grow!
God also wants us to rest and enjoy all that He has given us. Do you enjoy painting? Paint! Do you wish you had time to garden? Then make time to garden! He has created you uniquely. It's important to realize that using the gifts He has given you is part of investing in yourself and your personal growth.
It's important to realize that using the gifts He has given you is part of investing in yourself and your personal growth.
Roadblock #1 – Distraction.
Even as I sit here and type this, I'm very aware of the 30 other things I need to give time to today. Cell phones, text messages, emails, social media, our calendars, etc, can rob us of time, if we are not careful. A solution to this is to either limit your time participating in these distractions, or even consider times of periodic fasting from social media in order to clear your mind and your schedule.
Roadblock #2 – Management.
God says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Just because we are busy doesn’t necessarily mean our time is being invested wisely. Obviously, there are some events on our calendars that will have to stay, but seek God in prayer about what needs to be taken off of your plate. Even if His directions do not quite make sense, trust and obey. Remember God knows what’s up ahead for us. On the other hand, if we find our schedules to be somewhat overwhelming, remember Ecclesiastes 3:1 which says that God will provide the time for every event.
Just because we are busy doesn’t necessarily mean
our time is being invested wisely.
The “What’s in it for me?” perspective can hinder our time investment decisions. It's biblical and wise to count the cost in decisions we make. A re-organizing of obligations and a change in priorities may need to take place. If God is leading you to invest time in a relationship, for example, trust that it is not in vain. His purposes are not always apparent and investing in people is what Jesus was all about.
However you are considering investing your time, know that there may be times of “waiting.” But Scripture is very clear that we can expect to reap when and where we sow. This is why we should be intentional when making investment decisions. God’s intent is to give you "a future and a hope,” and He will reveal the steps to a great yield on your investments!