I regularly find myself reflecting on the many men and women that God has brought into my life through the years. As I think back over the proverbial path that God has led me down, I can see the faces of several faithful men and women of God who played meaningful roles in making me who I am and leading me to where I am today. I don’t know if they knew it at the time, but these people made investments in my life through the limited resources of their own lives, and the produce of my life and ministry is a return on their investment.
The first person to come to mind is always Ron Bouvier. God led him into my life at a crucial point in my development. I would say that to the casual observer, Bouv was a fairly average guy, with a talent for coaching basketball, a deep love for Jesus, and a desire to make an impact in the lives of young people. At the time, I was a scrawny pre-teen from a dysfunctional family struggling to find a place to belong and someone to believe in him. There were many other kids who would have been safer investments than I was. I have little doubt that others told him as much. There were plenty of high capacity kids, from good homes, with supportive families, bound to produce amazing returns on the investment. I was a good kid, but I didn’t have much else going for me. Still, Bouv made the investment. He regularly met with me at school and asked me how I was doing and what I was reading in the Bible. He called me out on my weaknesses and encouraged me to step up in my strengths. He never pushed me to pursue ministry, but it was his example that made me want to become a pastor. At some point, his many investments caused my heart to open to new possibilities and I went from wanting to be Michael Jordan to wanting to be Ron Bouvier. His investment continues to pay returns years after our last interaction.
Over our years in ministry, we have had several families that have adopted us.
Over our years in ministry, we have had several families that have adopted us. At Oakwood Baptist Church, we had the Menders family. At North Webster UMC, we had the Packer family. And, at First Baptist Church of St Albans, we had the Downey family. All of these families invited us into their homes during holidays. They treated our children as their own grandchildren and loved Robyn and I as their own children. The Menders even let us live in their basement for over a month as we transitioned into life in Charleston. As I think back over my years in ministry, usually far from home, I am confident that without the investment of these families, we would not have made it these many years. Their investment of encouraging words, home-cooked meals, Christmas presents for our kids, and partnership in ministry at the church produced returns in those communities at the time and continues to produce returns in the life of my family today here in Seymour.
This is just but a small sampling of the people who have invested in my life and ministry. If space allowed, I could recount numerous people who invested the resources of their lives that have brought about returns in mine. Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, church board members, pastors, friends and family, all of these and more have given of themselves in little and big ways in service to the Lord, and God continues to bless their investment long after it was made. All of these investments were made through the ministries and relationships of local churches. If you have been involved in a local church, I’m sure that you can think of many who made investments that are bringing about returns in your own life and community.
The question that we must ask ourselves is this; in what are we investing the resources of our lives?
The question that we must ask ourselves is this; in what are we investing the resources of our lives? Our lives constitute a limited resource. We only have so much time in each day. We only have so many opportunities to use our talents. We only have so many financial resources. We all want to know that we are doing something worthwhile with the resources we have at our disposal. There are many worthwhile options for our investment. As followers of Jesus, we are expected to make investments in and through the local church. God continues to bring about returns in the lives of individuals and in the world at large through our investments. I believe as we faithfully invest the resources that God has given us we will build something that will continue to bring about returns long after we are gone.