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investing for "real" returns

BY BRYAN KELLY

This morning I read the account of the widow who gave all she had ("gave out of her poverty") and I was lovingly convicted by Holy Spirit that I simply have not really lived that way in a while. Honestly, most sacrificial giving I have done with money, time, vehicles, my attention, or my stuff, has been from what I have left over after my own needs, desires, personal goals, offering at church, and other comforts and luxuries have been addressed; I give from excess.

I have been reminded recently of people in my neighborhood who have given from a true place of need. A real dilemma is presented: "If I give this, how will I eat? How will I pay a bill that is due soon? How will I feed and clothe my children?" There is no known avenue for replenishment of the resource they are contemplating giving. Frankly, that's not my experience. I can leave this community any time I choose. I can change my circumstances if I want to; many of my neighbors can't.

Yet, I "caught" some of them recently giving in the exact way, from the exact place, that the poor widow did in Jesus' presence.

I heard testimony of some of our high school kids on a mission trip to Ferguson, Missouri, choosing to give to help a homeless man.

I watched a mom with eight children (she is now facing eviction from her apartment by the way) choose to give a substantial amount of money to help a single mom find temporary housing to come off the streets.

I watched families in our housing program come forward and give "all they had" towards an emergency loan fund to begin to proactively look after our community, when most all had just testified that they were really struggling financially themselves.

I watch people give time and time again from a place that I haven't lived out of in a long time. That kind of giving directly connects us with our Father. It requires deep trust and intimacy with Him, and puts all of us in position to see His glory.

I really want to experience Jesus this way again. I am excited about His invitation to me inwardly and in His revealed scriptures to be rich toward mercy and invest in things that will not fail to bring "real" returns.