Investment Return

Matthew 13: 23

And the one on whom seed was sown on good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

This verse is from the famous parable of the seed. It is such a great expression of the kingdom of God. One of the things that has always struck me about this verse, though, is that Jesus mentioned the hundredfold return first. Then, as if he knew that some people could not receive a hundred fold he said, “Okay, sixty fold.” Still there were some who could not believe for a sixty fold return on seed so he said, “Alright, some will receive thirty fold.” It has made me wonder for years where we could have gone on the other end if we could believe. Would Jesus speak about a thousand fold return with someone who has faith for big returns?

I think sometimes of the stock market and other investments. We all want the largest return on our investment that we can get. If an investment broker offered us a 30%, 60% or 100% return on our money I am pretty sure each of us would choose 100%. So what happens to our thinking when Jesus starts talking about the return on seed sown? Does something about that short circuit our brain patterns?

The first instance of this crop is that the word has been sown as seed to us. Are we fertile soil which produces a crop? The good soil, which is the person who receives the word, brings forth a crop. Some people produce a small crop, others produce a large crop. The second instance of the parable is the seed that we sow back. Those from a farming background will tell us that some of the crop is saved in order to sow for the next crop. We take what Jesus first gave us and sow it back into the kingdom so that others may hear the word. Now, we have invested in the kingdom. What return should you expect on your investment. Here is where people get a little choked but you see, Jesus is expecting every seed to yield at least a 30% return and for those who can believe he is willing to double the investment. That alone becomes a very interesting proposition. 

In the book of Exodus we discover that when a man is caught stealing he must repay double (Exodus 22: 4). Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s anointing and got it (2 Kings 2: 9). And in Isaiah 61: 7 we are promised a double portion for our former shame. So, the double portion would not have sounded remarkable to the Jews to whom Jesus spoke. None the less, he kept backing down to reach the belief level of others there, or at least that is my theory. 

My point is this. First we should give Jesus a hundred fold return on his investment. We are to produce fruit and every fruit bearing tree or bush gives off much more than that which was planted. Secondly, we should eagerly invest in the kingdom of God from the harvest of our fruit and we should expect a hundredfold return. Those who sow, ought to reap. It would be a perversion otherwise. We shouldn’t get all choked up and “Holy” when it comes to investment and return. After all, Jesus is Jewish and he knows how money works. This is the guy who could get money from a fish’s mouth. He isn’t going to freak out if we want to talk about money. It certainly didn’t seem to bother him when Peter asked him about money for the taxes. Jesus was so cool. He just said, “Go fishin” and that was all the advice Peter needed.

Invest in the kingdom. That is God’s will for us all but also expect a big return.

Victory in Jesus

Genesis 26: 28

And they said, “We see plainly that the Lord has been with you.”

This should be the testimony of Christianity. We really shouldn’t have to go testify to people and try to convince them that Christianity is a great way of life. They should just see it evidenced in our lives. That was Isaac’s testimony. The people around him saw the favor of God on everything he did. He didn’t have to say anything. I wish my life spoke as loudly as Isaac’s.

The problem with many of us is that we are living below the Christ level. What do I mean by that? Well, you have heard of the poverty level and that there are some who live below that minimum level of existence. This is similar. There is a level of victory and blessing that every Christian should be living at but it seems that there are only a few who have a revelation of how to live in Christian abundance. We need a class taught by Isaac. He had a revelation. One of my favorite passages is in this same chapter, verses 1 and 12. Verse 1 reveals that there was a famine in the land. Rather than pulling up his tent stakes and moving on to a more fertile area Isaac listened to the voice of the Lord and obeyed. Verse 12 tells us that in that year, in that time of famine and in that same land, Isaac sowed and “reaped in that same year a hundredfold.”

This is the legacy that has been passed down to us. This is our inheritance through Father Abraham. Truthfully, though, we should excel far beyond Isaac because we have an even better covenant, based on better promises and mediated by a better counselor (Hebrews 8: 6). We also can sow in the time of famine and reap a hundredfold. Then people will look at us and see the awesomeness of our God.

We should all succeed at everything we set our hand to because great is our God. However, there are some keys revealed here and that Isaac adhered to that will help us if we too follow them. First of all, when the famine came Isaac didn’t just run off in panic or churn his brain trying to figure out what to do. The first thing he did was to receive counsel from the Lord. It is going to be impossible to live above the Christian poverty line if we don’t first receive instruction from the Lord. It is His counsel that sets our feet on the profitable path. Secondly, Isaac obeyed. He heard what the Lord said and he did it. God told him not to go to Egypt but to stay in that land. So Isaac stayed. That is two keys so far: receive the counsel of the Lord, obey.

The third thing that Isaac did in this time of famine is outlandish. It goes against all conventional wisdom. Isaac sowed. What most people do in times of famine or economic depression is to hoard. They become very tight-fisted and stingy. This causes them to develop a scarcity mentality which continues to manifest in their lives and their finances until they develop a new attitude. Most of us end up eating our seed corn. In other words, we use the money that we are supposed to sow for our harvest rather than planting it. It is tough to reap a harvest if you haven’t first planted a crop. There are all kinds of seeds. Most of us think about money and that is fair. We are foolish if we don’t sow money. I am also reminded of the verse that says, “The sower sows the Word” (Mark 4: 14). We need to sow the Word into our lives, businesses, families, etc. That begins by putting the Word in you but then to sow it you must speak it.

You are meant to live in the hundredfold return. However, 100 X 0 = 0, so we must get some seed in the ground. We need a victory attitude and to turn our faces to the Lord our God. When we follow His direction we will succeed in every facet of our lives so that people will look at us and say, “Mighty is your God!” There are all kinds of seeds. Ask the Father what He would have you sow and get out your plow and get busy. Don’t hoard for goodness sake. If you are going through a tough time, find something, anything, and give it away. Let “Victory in Jesus” be your anthem and show the world the loving power of your Father.