Out of the Sand – The LifeVesting Principle of Increase

by Andy Wood on July 30, 2008

in Executing Your Plan, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Waiting

GrowthA man goes on a long journey, so the story goes.  He gives different amounts of money to three managers – amounts ranging in today’s currency from around $300,000 to upwards of $5 million.  This ain’t chump change.

One day, the man returns, and asks the three managers a pretty simple question:  How much value did you add to what I gave you?

Two of the managers had done similar things with the money.  They started making trades.  Making the money work for more money.  They took some risks, added some work and ideas of their own, and increased the value of the initial stake.

Behind door number three, however, was a guy who buried his stake in the back yard.  He did nothing with what he had been given.  Assuming that somehow the landowner would be impressed, he beamed with pride as he returned the original stake.

Bad move.

You know this, of course, as a story that Jesus told.  But some of the most important words are some of the first:  “The kingdom of heaven is like this,” Jesus said.

So, while a lot of us imagine judgment as us standing before God while he counts the cusswords and dirty little thoughts we had, Jesus presents a different idea here.  We will give an account to God for how much more value we have added to the gifts He’s given us.  This is the LifeVesting principle of Increase:

I will receive an increase on my life choices in proportion to my willingness to invest and wait.

So you’ve got some money.  How much more money will you have a year from now?  Five years from now?

How about the hours of your day?  Are you turning them in to value?  To life?

What about your talents, gifts, or abilities?  They don’t belong to you; they’re simply on loan for a while.  One day, the Gift Giver will ask for His talents and gifts back.  And I think He’ll be looking for added value.  He’ll be looking for increase.

In the financial realm, the purpose of investing is to increase the value of the original investment.  The same is true in LifeVesting.  As I invest my time, my love, my respect, or my resources, I receive an increase consistent with the investments themselves.  The parable of the sower speaks of various levels of profit, as does the parable of the talents.  Oh, and get this – the allegory of the vine says that God will prune my life so that the parts of me that are fruitful will become even more fruitful. Think about it – God is so committed to increasing the value of your return on His investment, He will start squeezing, pinching off, and reshaping your life in order to make it happen.

Painful?  You betcha.  But afterward – increase.  Reward.

The idea of reward or increase makes some Christians nervous.  We’re supposed to do what we do for the privilege of humble service and nothing more.  Aren’t we?

Not so fast.  William Barclay says,

“It is abundantly clear that Jesus did not hesitate to speak in terms of rewards and punishments.  And it may well be that we ought to be careful that we do not try to be more spiritual than Jesus was in our thinking about this matter of reward.”

The Law of the Harvest says that I reap what I sow, later than I sow, more than I sow.  But first, I have to sow!

I’m going to do a little soul searching.  Come along, if you’d like, and explore some of these thoughts about your own life…

  • If I were to stand before God and He were to ask me, “How much value (fruitfulness, understanding, financial increase, beauty, strength, power, influence) did you add to what I gave you,” what would I say?
  • If God were to go digging in my “backyard,” what hidden, unused treasures would He find?
  • If God told me that the increase was coming, but I’d have to wait another year, would I be willing to wait?  How about 4 years like Joseph?  Fourteen years like Jacob?  Forty years like Moses?
  • If I had no money, but lots of love and friendship, could I still add value to the world?  Am I adding value to the world beyond financial increase?
  • Am I willing to be pruned – to endure painful resizing, apparent setbacks, discipline, disappointments, or rejection – in order to become even more profitable to His Kingdom?

Something clicked recently, and it dawned on me that time keeps ticking away (“tick-tick-ticking away”).  So would you do me a favor?  If it ever appears to you that I’m burying any of the treasure I’ve been entrusted, would you sound the alarm for me?  If it looks to you like I’m getting tired of the hardships, lazy with the opportunities, or lethargic with my time or energy, would you come alongside me and holler with a thick accent of some type, “INCREASE!”  I’ll get it.

I’ll do the same for you.  Let’s get our treasure out of the sand and stop elevating mediocrity to an art form.  Take some risks.  Sow something.  Improve something.  Create, teach, save, try, ask, read, learn something.

And above all, let’s be ready to present something when the time comes.  Something we have added value to.  Something He’ll take pleasure in.

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