A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
As those living in a capitalist society whose DNA is composed of rugged individualism, we often feel justified in consuming more than we invest. Our planet groans with pain due to our rate of consumption. According to one estimate reported by Washington State University, Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy. We are definitely consumers.
While it may take us considerable time to be better stewards of the planet, we have every opportunity to be better stewards of our spiritual resources. One of the best ways to be a good steward of spiritual resources is to invest in people without the expectation of anything in return. There are many ways to do this, but here are a few to get us started.
First, we can use our phones. One of the things I love about my mom and my aunt is their commitment to talking to each other every day. Even when neither of them has anything to say, they don’t let a day go by without picking up the phone to check in on each other.
While we don’t have to call a person every day, a phone call is a simple way of investing in someone else. We can call just to say hello. We can call just to make sure someone is doing well. We can call someone we don’t normally call. We call not because we need or want something, but just because we can. We call instead of text because the sound of the human voice does something that a text message will never be able to do.
Second, we can use our prayers. Do not underestimate the power of a random prayer. Praying for someone is a very powerful form of human investment. Whether we pray with the person or whether we just pray for the person, prayer works. Prayer is one of the ways God uses us to love each other.
At least once in our lives, we have received a prayer at just the right time from someone unexpected. What was the impact of that prayer? Now, imagine how it would feel if we did the same for someone else? We all can take the time to pray for someone who is not expecting it. Better yet, we can pick up the phone and pray with the person or leave a prayer on their voicemail just because.
Third, we can use our positivity. One of the things that I miss the most about working with children is how many times just a positive word can help them find their way. The same holds true with adults. We all have inner critics that seek to consume our thoughts and prevent us from taking the next good step towards purpose. Whether it is the voice of some past mistake or the voice of some perceived fear, inner critics love to battle the mind into submission to stagnation.
When we speak well to each other, we are helping one another to win against the inner critic. Many times, the person with which we have the most conflict is battling this inner critic. What would happen if we recognized this and spoke to the inner spirit of that person? What would happen if we helped them amplify their inner spirit to the point of silencing the inner critic?
Believers, we all have opportunities to invest in one another. Investing in another is a way of demonstrating generosity. Generosity is a gift that keeps on giving. Proverbs 11:25 reminds us that a generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. While the goal of investing in others should not be self-centered, generosity always creates a win-win scenario for the receiver and the giver. In fact, if we all are consumed with investing in others, we all win.
Prompt for Thought: Where can you invest in someone using your phone, your prayers, and your positivity?
Prayer for the Journey: Dear God, we have an abundance of spiritual resources. Because you are the well, that well never runs dry. Help us to be vessels of spiritual resources for others. Help us to be investors more often than we are consumers, trusting that as we pour into others, you pour into us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.