What would you do with $31,536,000?

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, January 8, 2014

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In this first “Life Matters” of 2014, let’s pretend that a generous benefactor has given each of us $31,536,000.

Say that number aloud like a game show announcer: “Thirty-one million, five hundred thirty-six thousand dollars!” Sounds even bigger, doesn’t it?

Now, we’ve been told there is no such thing as a free lunch, so of course this gift comes with some stipulations.

1. The money is not yours; you are only managing it.

2. You are, however, completely in charge of how it is spent.

3. The benefactor has unlimited access to your records and knows how you spend every penny.

4. There are no refunds; once it is spent, you can’t get it back.

5. The benefactor can call for the unused portion at any time.

6. At some point, a full accounting will be required.

If that scenario happened, what would you do with the money?

There is a story in the Bible (found in Matthew 25) about a man who went on a long trip. Before he left, he called his three servants together and entrusted his property to them, giving different amounts of money to each one (to manage) based on their abilities.

When he returned from his trip, he called the servants back together to settle up accounts. Two of the three had wisely invested the money, putting it to work, and had doubled the original amount. The master congratulated them for their faithfulness and invited them to share in the profits.

The third servant was afraid of what might happen if he somehow lost the money, so he had hidden the original amount for safekeeping and returned it to his master. The master was angry that the servant had not, at least, deposited the money in an account that would earn interest. He punished the servant and gave his money to the others.

Jesus told this story to illustrate a great truth: You and I are responsible for how we invest the resources with which God has entrusted us. We are not responsible for how the market performs.

Now, going back to our original game… it actually isn’t pretend. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, our Benefactor gave us 31,536,000 seconds to manage in 2014. Those seconds are not ours, but we are in charge of how they are spent.

Our Benefactor knows how we spend every one of them. Since time only moves forward, once we spend them, we can’t get them back. Our Benefactor can call for the unused portion at any time. It’s likely that someone who is reading this will not be with us this time next year.

We will all one day give an accounting for the way we managed the seconds He gave us, and all of them matter to Him.

At the time of this writing, we have spent over 353,000. How are you spending yours?

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association headquartered in Decatur.

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