Words are important to me. I believe they have power. The spoken word is especially powerful. I have been really chewing on some words lately that God has brought to my attention.
I was recently listening to Rick Warren speak on Oprah's Lifeclass. He said there are 3 things we can do with our life:
1. Waste it .
2. Spend it.
3. Invest it.
I have thought so much about those concepts and have been thinking about the life God has given me. I don't know many people who want to waste their lives. Most would say that they absolutely don't want to do that.
I wrote those 3 things on our marker board in our kitchen. My kids said, "There is no difference in spending an investing." That brought about a great discussion in our home that I have referred back to with them several times over the last couple of weeks.
There was a time period where I used the word "spent" a lot in reference to how I felt. When I was weary, overwhelmed, and overextended, I would say I was "spent." We even had a saying at our church that said to God, "Here I am Lord in your response to your call, now send me and spend me, I'll give you my all." I think the sentiment was right on, but the idea of being spent creates a negative picture of my service to God. When you spend something, it is over, gone, done, and there is nothing left to show for it. When you are "spent," there is an exhaustion that feels like it has no purpose.
The concept of investment is totally different. When we invest in something, we are looking for a return. There is always a return. In fact, sometimes that return is a loss, but there is the possibility of return and the effort feels more purposeful.
I think about yard work. I really hate yard work. This weekend, we are going to work on our yard/garden/flower beds. I am not really looking forward to it, but I see it as an investment. We will put in the hard work, and will hope for a return on our efforts that we can enjoy throughout the summer.
Have you ever experienced the kind of exhaustion of really hard work and when you lay down in your bed at night, you can feel the ache in your body from all that you have done. It is a good kind of exhaustion because you know you invested your time in something worthwhile. I would equate it to how I feel when I go to Africa. We have long, hard days. We are getting dirty, doing projects, playing nonstop with the kids, exerting a ton of emotional energy, etc. It is exhausting, BUT it is not in vain. It is an investment.
I am trying to view the things that I choose to dedicate my time to as investments. I don't want to just "spend" my time doing things that when they are over, I just feel "spent." If it is not an investment, then why am I devoting so much attention and energy to it?
Then, just as I was feeling like I had this idea of investment figured out, my good friend, Sue, who has so much wisdom to offer, added another layer for me to ponder. She challenged me to consider investing in my inheritance. This is what that looks like in my life:
and this one,
don't forget this guy,
and last, but certainly not least,
So, I am asking myself these days, "What do I want to invest in today? How can I invest in my inheritance today? Does this activity, choice, etc serve as a waste, as spending, or as an investment in my life today? It has definitely made me evaluate and weigh the things that I commit my time to.