Investing: What is it…really?
For most of us, the Holiday Season is a time for reflection. We take a rear-view look at the year that has passed and take stock in the results we have created, the progress we have generated and the time we have spent on the things most important to us. We evaluate our INVESTMENT. Following this rewind and replay, no matter how long or short, we can’t help but come away with this question hanging in our minds: “Did I make the wisest investments in the things that matter most?”
Once I arrived at 40-years-old, I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t actually know everything. Some days I think it took me longer than some to figure this out. One of the results of this “revelation” is the increased amount of topical Googling throughout my day. As I sat down in front of my screen and keyboard to write this article, I found myself Googling the complete meaning of “investment”. I was in for quite a surprise.
The dictionary provides us with the definition that we most commonly associate with our word of study: “To expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial schemes, shares, or property, or by using it to develop a commercial venture.” If that was all my Googling provided, this article would have been scrapped. And the second definition, albeit softer, didn’t give me anything new to chew on either: “To provide or endow someone or something with (a particular quality or attribute).” But as I dug deeper, I found what are consider to be archaic definitions. It is these that connected with the ideas bouncing around in my head to begin with.
What struck me about these archaic definitions was the more tangible action demonstrated in each. One reads, “To clothe or cover with a garment.” Another, “To surround (a place) in order to besiege or blockade it.” And although the second of the two may sound a bit odd, it is that second definition that began to seep its way into my own annual rewind. It created this question for me: “Who or what does my investment protect?”
Throughout our day, our year, we are presented with all kinds of options for investment. Money, family, time, intellect, relaxation, all require correctly-prioritized investment. But if I, if we want to truly be defined as a “Kingdom-Class Investor”, we have to make sure 1) that we aren’t sacrificing one important investment for the sake of another (e.g. family vs. dollars) and 2) that each investment choice is driven by a selfless desire to impact someone other than just ourselves…and radically no less. And we don’t evaluate the success of this mindset by telling ourselves we are doing it or thinking it. We do so by hearing from those we are responsible to “surround”. That’s your employees. That’s your family. That’s your congregation. That’s your circle of trusted friends. When THEY mirror back to you the impact of your investment in them, financial or otherwise, you can be confident that you have arrived at this deeper level of true investment.
Guess what? This philosophy of investment allows for the enhancement of a pretty powerful connection in your life and in mine. Matthew 25:40 gives Jesus’ investment philosophy: "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Good company, wouldn’t you say?
For some, these thoughts are, at the least, a reminder of ongoing habits already incorporated in daily life. However, for others, these thoughts may be revelation and, subsequently, motivation. Whatever camp you fall into, I hope that your rewind and reflection this Holiday Season generates in you a fresh desire to attack 2018 as a true “investor”.