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.