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Brian Rapske Ph.D.

Investing for Lasting Returns

Two days ago, Northwest Baptist Seminary participated in an annual fund raising banquet with its ACTS seminaries partners. Doners, staff and faculty were present. The program was encouraging; the student testimonies particularly inspiring.

At one point one of our students–Lenora Klassen–was asked why she would recommend that folks financially support the work of the seminary.

I was particularly struck by her response.

Lenora replied, "I don’t know if anyone has been following the economy or activity in the world stock markets lately but there is virtually no place in that arena where a person can get a good return on investment."

She continued, "If you’re looking for a place to invest that generates incredibly strong and lasting returns, there’s no better place than to invest in training highly motivated people who will serve God in proclaiming the good news about His son the Lord Jesus in an amazingly broad range of ways."

Well said on the financial analysis, Lenora!

I’m not an economist, but you don’t really need to be one to see that there has been a lot of economic trouble in the world of late. Markets have plunged, bank credit is frozen, and panic reigns. In the past fifteen months, there have been over 2 trillion dollars’ worth of debt-related losses. Most nations have incurred great debt in floating ‘rescue plans;’ a few nations look to have gone bankrupt. We’ve heard about how the woes of Wall Street were going to begin to affect Main Street. This week the local press where I live featured stories about several large building projects that have stopped due to the debt losses and bankruptcy of lending institutions across the border. Construction workers were being let go from the sites. The media are featuring more and more people who have invested deeply and lost everything. One US pundit quipped that 401 K retirement plans are now just 01 K plans.

Lenora was also right in her spiritual assessment because it positively counseled those gathered at the banquet against the common tendency in tough times for people to experience a "generosity freeze."

Jesus taught, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Obviously, supporting a Seminary in its training of quality individuals for various gospel ministries is one place to make a good long term ‘safe’ investment. We should never be neglectful of that!  But there are also many other ways as well–ways that engage need in all of its desperate expressions and overwhelm the needy with generous goodness that makes them ask, "Why are you doing this?" The answer, of course, is "For the love of God and His Son."

So, we’ve been reminded once again that there are choices to be made. Jesus boiled the options down to a single choice: Who will we serve, God or Money? (Matthew 6:24)

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