The question of the greatest investment in life

Published 1:33 pm Saturday, April 30, 2022

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

Investments. When we first hear the word, we regularly think of those who place their money in stocks, bonds, and so forth. Even those who have a 401k, either set aside at work, or managed independently, easily become dumfounded at the particular peculiarities of these investments. The reality is we are, for the most part, familiar only in our own fields of expertise. Whether we are an auto mechanic, office manager, or nuclear physicist, the training, or by our experience, negates a firm grounding in investments, upon which we may rely.

Yet, we do have a bit of knowledge. Many seem to know that a stock is part ownership in a company, whose price rises and falls with the performance of the entity in the marketplace. A bond is a debt; much like a loan, which carries interest and ends after a specific length of time.

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Beyond this we are pretty much in murky waters. The vagaries of market segments, the influence of governmental agencies and both national and international events hold sway upon all investments.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, are those who do not trust banking institutions and squirrel their money away under a mattress, or in a can buried in the backyard. They may argue that there is no risk, while acknowledging no interest, and they may retrieve their funds at any time they wish. Much if this is true, as long as the money is not stolen or eaten by worms.

However, there are far more investments than just the financial kind, and with the greater potential for s generous return. Consider the investment of education. From our earliest years, we, as well as those around us, have invested a significant amount of time and money in our future; assuming there shall be a gain above and beyond the investment. Should we complete high school, college, or an advanced degree, each comes with the anticipation of, not only a greater level of happiness, but also a contribution to the greater good.

Then we have the investment of preparation for what is commonly called a good life. It typically centers around relationship and job successes, along with a properly directed sense of morality. The definition of a good life varies greatly from individual to individual. For some, it may be a simple cabin in the woods, for others it may be several palatial mansions. Yet, in any analysis, it is not the “things” which make us happy. What makes us truly happy are our personal relationships. No number of investments, in any other venue, even comes close. A few years ago, a cartoon was published in The New Yorker magazine. Two fellows were standing on the sidewalk, a hearse was going by, towing a U-Haul trailer; presumptively laden with the deceased’s possessions. The one gentleman remarked to the other, “This is the first time I have seen that!’ Of course, the cartoon was in jest, as we brought nothing into this world and can take nothing out. No matter what our station in life, we all exit in the same way.

So then, what should our greatest investment be? It may be said the varied financial investments are appropriate; to be left to our progeny, friends, or charities. It may also be said a greater priority should be given to our families and children; leaving them with fond memories, moral guidance and a sense of purpose. Each, and others, have their place, but they are centered upon our temporary time on this earth. Often, we invest so much of ourselves in this world, we relegate the actual source of all of our received largesse to an insignificant investment amount.

Simply put, we may forget about God and the investment He made by the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, for us.

Our investment in God is far more than just praising him, or speaking His name. Our Godly investments are made in our daily thoughts, words and deeds. No, we cannot earn our way in to His kingdom, but we can earn our way out. As Jesus Christ said, “Follow me.” This is the best investment advice ever given, and provides the hope of everlasting life. This investment is not complicated, or confusing. It only requires our understanding of these simple words and participation in the plan which Jesus sets before us.