Are you characterized and known by investing in or tearing down your family and friends? Before you offer the Sunday school answer and move on, consider these questions. When was the last time you wrote an encouraging note to your spouse, father, mother, sibling, co-worker, or teammate? When did you comfort one of them going through a difficult time? What value do you communicate when you first see them walking into a room? Are you task-oriented, treating them as an interruption to your daily routine, or do you celebrate their presence? What adjectives would they use to describe your general tone of voice, facial expressions, body posture, hand gestures, perceived motives, and choice of vocabulary when you encounter them?
Israel’s King Solomon imparted: “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1). House is bayith in Hebrew, which can reference any family, friend-group, team, organization, or movement. The wisest man on the planet communicated: A wise woman gives. A foolish woman takes. Humility is the soft heart condition that leads to wisdom and generosity. Pride is a hard heart that yields foolishness and greed. Either begins with our approach to God and affects how we treat those around us. When we invest in God, we invest in others. When we invest in others, we invest in God.
Investing is a balance of risk to return. In financial markets, the greater the expected risk, the greater the expected return. In God’s economy, we are free to sacrificially risk our time, talent, and treasure to serve those around us, independent of whether we benefit personally, because God’s Kingdom prioritizes and rewards the fashioning of a heart to be like Christ’s. Too often, left to ourselves, we only risk what we think we can get back plus a bonus for our efforts. We quickly calculate how much any act of service will cost us and then determine whether we move forward. Oftentimes, we click on autopilot and simply expect a relational return for little or no risk. That smacks of entitlement, expecting a constant, healthy benefit just because we show up and even when we don’t.
Take a risk with God and invest generously in your family and friends. Write a note to a teammate in need. Send a text to a co-worker who is going through a tough situation. Ask a family member how you can pray for them. Follow through with your commitment and follow up with their progress in a few days. Always celebrate the presence and successes of everyone with whom you lock eyes. God will reward your investment in those around you with the heart of Christ.