I’ve been thinking about this concept for a long, long time. Does it not seem sound stewardship of whatever material, time, effort and energy to… well… to invest most in those areas of labor, talent and even relationships that bring you the greatest return?
At first thought and with a hard view to personal benefit, yes.
So we reach Good Friday- good for us but how good for Jesus? How good for God the Father?
Some people believe He didn’t really die for all, rather only for some. I can understand the logic in that thinking.
Only One was “tempted in all points, yet without sin”, “He who knew no sin BECAME sin for us”, “died once for all”… and on the cross He prayed: “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they’re doing”.
We can reason that He knows all, knew all along that some would follow Him while others never would. So there is that sense He was prepared for zero, even negative return. Some would be discipled and disciple others in perdition, down the road to eternal separation… He knew it all along, how very cold, crass and harsh is this God Who is supposed to be Love itself?
The Bible further tells us “Whosoever WILL, let them come”. Would we prefer the rape of ALL -WILL- COME, enjoy the pawn-like manipulation?
Ahhh but like so many “good” business persons we think about return for investment. He only truly died for those who would go His way. The rest, He created for brutal play.
Dear reader, this is not the God I know, love and serve. This is not the Christian I believe Jesus sacrificed all that I might become. From my years of walking with Him and studying His Word I do not conclude His mind toward us is “Unless I get the return from you I think reasonable, I refuse to invest in you. No love, no friendship, no kindness, no sacrifice without ample, yes, ample return”.
Such self-centered, arrogant, ungracious ideas of spending exclusively, only or mostly IF and WHEN I get the return out of you, or the work, or whatever that I desire or think I deserve… is this truly the example Jesus set for us?
Consider this: He gave everything for us. EVERYthing. All. He took it all upon Himself.
He forgave them before they even had a clue.
Grace. UNMERITED favor. So… “return for investment” or no investment ‘eh? I think not.
When one looks at both sides of church history one can readily see wonderful, loving, kind, sacrificial people as well as political hacks, power-hungry dolts, pharisee-type warriors ready to kill anyone considered “the enemy”, persecutions, racism, “manifest destiny” rubbish where people who professed Christian faith exploited entire tribes and races for personal gain and profit “in the name of Christ and king or queen”, that is, for their country. For benefit. Return for investment.
The widow, the orphan, the disabled, the poor, the mentally ill, the “not-like-US” foreigner… what return would one expect to gain from such people?
“As you’ve done it to the least of these my brethren, you’ve done it to me”.
The deeper question is how is it that God invests the BEST of Himself in you and I when we return so much selfishness and lovelessness toward others and ultimately back at Him?
Apparently Jesus invests because that’s what Love does. He leaves the 99 to search after the one who is lost. His idea of math is so unlike ours!
Good Friday was a horrible, hugely sober, deeply chilling day of total and complete investment.