Maybe this is the year you make a financial and time investment to go on a missions trip.
Or perhaps you make a time investment to talk to that neighbor who seems a little lonely.
Or you finally look into that local ministry that's always intrigued you and begin the investment of volunteering with them on a regular basis.
Or you decide to invest in truly getting to know what makes that family member (who tends to get on your nerves) tick and then bless them with your unconditional love.
Or maybe you just make the investment of being nicer to every. single. stranger you come into contact with this year.
Whatever the investment, it will NOT come back as a negative balance even if you don't get to actually see or hear about the positive results.
Oh sure, people are complicated and at times our investments seem to be yielding no positive returns. But that's when we have to make the hardest decision in this whole "investing in people" thing...the decision to NOT go into it thinking how it will profit us...but only how it will eventually profit them. Jesus did this while He was walking on earth and not only did He rarely get to see the "fruit" of his investment while here, he was more times than not, misunderstood, ridiculed, and mistreated.
My Dad understood this premise and although he was at times frustrated and worn out from his various investments in people, he tried to keep the good of the other person at the forefront. As my family and I approach another one of my Dad's birthdays without him here on earth, I can think of no better way to celebrate his life than to leave you with a letter from one of the people he invested in. Honestly, I'm not even sure my Dad knew how this gentleman felt about him and the time my Dad spent with him, but I wanted to share how it REALLY DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE to invest in people:
Dear Family of Glenn Paul,
I feel compelled to write this letter to you in your time of grief to let you know I also feel your loss. The man Glenn Paul was paramount in my spiritual growth and in my life. I’m an inmate in prison and Glenn was my mentor. Through all my trials and tribulations he would be there for me as a friend or a father would do. I would discuss my family to him and he would beam about his wife and four daughters he loved so much. I believe he just came from a gathering at one of you girls’ house a few months prior. Why I am reminiscing on these minor details I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I valued every moment I had with him so much. And he truly touched my life even if it was for only 1 day out of the week. But oh how much I looked forward to seeing him that day. How he would challenge me spiritually. He was a blessing for me from God and helped fulfill my spiritual appetite. He helped me learn how to break down the Word better. He helped me in so many ways. He’s the primary reason people see a change in me today. My eyes are becoming teary as I think about my good friend Glenn. I’m so sad he’s gone. There was so much more I could have learned from him as I told the chaplain. He also said to me about the lives Glenn affected up here at the prison. It was truly amazing how spiritually gifted he was. Also how loving. I work on a work release which me and him prayed about together and God granted me a job. And like a father checking on his son he came to see me at work and check to see how I was doing. Unfortunately, I had off that day, but they told me they gave him a glowing report. The sad part is that would have been the last time for me to see him. Though I wish I could see him just one last time just to tell him thanks and that I love him. He was a truly great God fearing man. And I truly do feel your loss and send my condolences.
So, certainly invest in those areas that will help you live 2014 with better health and balance so that you can ultimately make the life-changing investment in someone else.
Happy New Year 2014!