June 20, 2011
What a Spiritual Investment Can Yield
Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:5-7, NIV
Today is my mother’s birthday.
Most of you who will read or listen to this devotional don’t know her, but what we can learn from the legacy of her life is something that I believe we should all consider.
When I think of my mother, I think of someone who has invested in me—most importantly in a spiritual way.
In the first chapter of 2 Timothy, the apostle Paul recognized this kind of investment as well as he noted what Timothy’s mother (and grandmother) had done in his life in his formative years. Verses 14 and 15 allude to this priceless gift:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
When I read those verses, I cannot help but think of the many years that my mother spent with me in reading God’s Word and in helping me memorize Bible verses each week. While I loved being read to from Dr. Kenneth Taylor’s wonderful Bible storybook called The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes, I had a harder time with Scripture memory.
Perhaps it reminded me of tedious math problems to be solved in school. Or maybe I just wasn’t as patient as my mother, who painstakingly worked with me to memorize each verse by rote. I can’t imagine how much patience that must have required of her to repeat the phrases of each verse over and over and over again to me until I finally had each one memorized.
That time spent reading Scripture and training me in God’s Word through memorization marked time that she sacrificed for her own pursuits and interests. It marked time she didn’t take to spend with her friends at lunch or to go to the mall to do some shopping or to let “Calgon take her away” from a frustrated and antsy child.
To invest in my spiritual growth and development and future, it meant that she had to set aside her own plans and submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit in her life in order to follow the command found in Proverbs 22:6.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
As an adult, I am realizing more and more what a great spiritual inheritance that I have because of my mother’s willingness to invest her life by making herself available in mine. I am growing in my Christian faith and continue to learn new truths from passages of Scripture that are familiar yet fresh with meaning after all of these years.
But an investment strategy such as my mom’s was with me is not just reserved for biological parents and children, but to spiritual sons and daughters as well. In fact, Paul himself addresses his first letter to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:2: “To Timothy, my true son in the faith.” This represents a spiritual investment that Paul, a seasoned believer at this point, was making in the life of a young pastor, Timothy, who was newer to ministry. Timothy went on to help with the church in Thessalonica (1 Thess. 3:2), as well as in the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 4:17; 16:10) and was called a “faithful and beloved child in the Lord.”
In pondering the investment my mother has made in my life, I must look around for what that has yielded or what it is yielding in my life today. Are there rich blessings that I am using wisely? Or have I squandered away my spiritual inheritance or buried it so deeply that it is not being put to any good use at all? Am I reaching out and using what I have received and reinvesting in the lives of those around me?
As I wish my mother a happy birthday today, I offer a prayer of thanksgiving for her life and what her spiritual investment has yielded in mine. And I pray that we all would be encouraged to reinvest what we have been given spiritually as we give of ourselves to those around us.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Are you ready to invest? Or if you’re already investing in someone is it time to up your contribution? Take time to ponder your spiritual investment strategy this week, as you spend some one-on-one time with your heavenly “Advisor.”