Robert Jeffress - Investing For Maximum Returns
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. There's no shortage of financial analysts who will tell you how to invest your money on Wall Street. They'll tell you when to buy and when to sell to get the biggest bang for your buck. But none of these advisors will tell you how to invest for eternity. Today we're going to discover some practical investment tips from Jesus. My message is titled, "Investing For Maximum Returns" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
You know, some people decide what they give this way. They say, "Okay, I add up all my income. I subtract all my expenses and if anything is left over, I'll give". Haven't you found it interesting there's hardly anything ever left over if you go by it that way? Other people say, "Well, you know, I'll just give as little as possible on that commitment card without feeling guilty. Whatever it takes to keep me from feeling guilty, I'll give that amount and I'll give as little as possible". Other people say, "No, you know the Bible says the tithe belongs to the Lord. And so I'm going to give 10% of my income to God's work and then keep the other 90% for me to do whatever I want".
Well, Jesus has a different perspective on giving that I'd like to look at today. It may completely revolutionize the way you think about giving to God's word. And that perspective is found in Matthew chapter six. If you have your Bibles turn to Matthew chapter six beginning with verse 19. Jesus said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal, for where your treasure is there your heart will be also". You know, Jesus's words can be best summarized by this sentence: you can't take it with you, but you can send it on ahead of you.
Randy Alcorn in his book, "The Treasure Principles" summarized it this way. He said, "Everything we invest here on earth will one day be lost, but anything we invest in heaven will never be lost". That is "The treasure principle". And you know, today, I want us to consider four implications of that treasure principle. Would you write them down on your outlines? Principle number one is this, I am a manager, not an owner of everything I have. I am a manager, not an owner. God said in job 41 verse 11, "Who has given to me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine". God says everything belongs to him, we own nothing. Everything I have belongs to God. Would you repeat that with me? Everything I have belongs to God, let's say it together, "Everything I have belongs to God".
Now let's say it like we mean it, "Everything I have belongs to God". You know, there are two types of people in the world. There are those who believe everything they have belongs to them. And then there are those who believe everything they have belongs to God. The first group who believes everything they have belongs to them, holds their possessions very tightly. But those who understand everything they have belongs to God, hold their possessions very loosely. In Haggai 2:8 God said, "'the silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the Lord of host". He said, "Oh, wait a minute, everything I have belongs to God? What about the money I earn? I'm such a shrewd investor and such a hard worker. I deserve what I have, it belongs to me". You know what God says to that? Baloney.
Deuteronomy 8:18. Moses says, "You should remember the Lord your God for it is he who is giving you the power to make wealth". Your brain, the energy you have to go to work, all of it comes from God, and that's why everything we have belongs to him. So what's the implication of that? I want you to imagine for a moment that you're the president of a company called Jesus incorporated. And the purpose of your company is to spread the news of Jesus to as many people as possible. You're the president, but God is the CEO. Now the assets of your company, Jesus incorporated consist of everything you own. Your house, your car, your savings account, your retirement account. They are under your management as the president. And you've got a great deal of latitude with what you do with your possessions.
If you want to blow a thousand dollars or $10.000 on a luxury, nobody's going to call that into question, you're the president. The only thing is one day you're going to give an account to the CEO of how you're running his company. Are you furthering his interest or your own interest? God has said, "I've left you here on earth for one reason. And that is to spread the news of my son to everyone". We all are president of our own little corporation called Jesus incorporated. And so the question is how are we investing the assets, not that we own, but that we manage for the CEO's benefit? And that leads to a second truth in this principle. Not only am I not an owner, I'm a manager. Secondly, I should avoid unwise investments. I should avoid unwise investments.
Look at verse 19. Jesus said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where mouth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal". In the Greek language, you could actually translate that instead of do not, Jesus actually said stop, cease, desist from wasting your money on things that are either going to be lost or going to be destroyed. Jesus is saying stop, cease, desist, quit being consumed by consumerism. We live in an age that is consumed by consumerism. I wrote a study that said that the average Americans spend six hours a week shopping and spends 40 minutes a week with his children. We have this idea that if we have any margin in our income, well, we need to spend that. I mean, if we live in a 4.000 square foot home and have the ability to move to a 6.000 square foot home, we ought to do it.
If we own four pair of shoes and we need a fifth pair, we just like it, not that we need it, we can buy that fifth pair of shoes. If we have an automobile that drives fine but there's a newer automobile available, we ought to purchase it. That is the age in which we live. Now, the fact is there's nothing wrong about a bigger home, there's nothing wrong about more shoes or even a finer automobile. What Jesus said is these are unwise investments because of what happens to them: they depreciate over time, they lose their value. They can either be destroyed by moth or rust or they can be lost or stolen. By the way if you ever want to see this principle in action about how what we invest in deteriorates over time, just hold a garage sale.
How many of you have ever had a garage sale before? You know what you do. You haul all your junk into the driveway and just hope you can unload your junk on somebody else. That's what a garage sale is. And you know, it can be very, very disturbing when you do it, because I mean here are toys you bought for your children for 30, 40, and $50 and they're on sale for a quarter or a half a dollar, or you have clothes that you spend hundreds of dollars on and you're trying to get rid of them for $5 or $10. I remember a garage sale we had and I hauled out the very first computer I ever bought. It was a Macintosh computer in 1985. It cost $3.500 in 1985. And put it in the garage sale, put a price tag on it of $20 and I couldn't unload it for $20.
Finally, I had to give it away. And I decided to do a little study and I took that $3.500 figure and I said, you know what, what if I had taken that $3.500 and it invested it in a normal rate of return? You know what I discovered? In that same period of time that $3.500 would've turned into $12.000. Now, there's nothing wrong with buying computers, there's nothing wrong with buying toys for your children or buying other things. God wants us to do more than in your life, he wants us to enjoy it. But what Jesus is simply saying here is when you understand that everything you purchase here on earth is going to lose its value one day, the idea is to spend as little as possible on those things so you don't lose your investment. And instead that's leads us to the third principle. I should seek safe and profitable investments.
Remember we're managers, not owners. We've got a certain amount of money. One day we're going to give an account to God for how we've invested that money. And if we want to be rewarded by the CEO one day, we're going to seek safe and profitable investments. Look at what he says in verse 20. "Instead of laying up for yourselves treasures on earth, lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither mouth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal". Now notice Jesus is not against laying up treasures for yourself. He doesn't say, "Quit thinking about yourself and don't try to lay up any treasures," he doesn't say that. He says, "Just don't lay up your treasures on earth where they're going to be lost or lose their value. Instead, lay up your treasures in a secure place where you can yield eternal dividends," that's heaven.
And notice what he says about investing in heaven. The reason heaven and God's kingdom is a wiser investment is because of two words. The first word is safety. Heaven, God's work is a safer investment. You might think, well, you know, these are just such uncertain times and this election is coming up, and I don't know what the fallout's going to be from that. Maybe I shouldn't give my money right now. I want to keep it safe. So I'm going to put my money in the bank, I'm going to keep it safe in the bank. Let me ask you, has anybody ever lost money in a bank before? Think the great depression. Of course, people lost lots of money in the bank.
Well, pastor, but that could never happen today because of FDIC and blah, blah, blah, blah. Nobody will ever lose money in a bank again. Are you sure of that, with what's coming the national debt, the deficit, can you say that with absolute certainty? Other people say, "Well, I won't put it in a bank. A safer investment for me is the stock market. That's what's safe". Anybody ever lost any money in the stock market before? I mean, it wasn't that many years ago, people lost 30, 40, 50% of their investments. But you know what, not $1 invested in God's work has ever been lost. Not one single dollar invested in God's work has ever been lost. The reason we invest in God's kingdom work is first of all, because of safety, but secondly, because of profitability. It's actually a more profitable investment.
You know, financial planners sometimes are what we call market timers. That is they look out over the horizon to try to predict what's going to happen to the economy and they make investment decisions based on that. For example, if they think things look kind of bleak and dangerous, they'll say, "You ought to take money out of the stock market and invest it in bonds and cash". However, if they look out over the long term and say, "You know what, things may be bad now, but they're going to get better. Maybe we ought to move your money from a safe investment to a more risky investment like the stock market". That's what a market timer is.
As one writer said, "Jesus was the ultimate market timer". He was able to look out beyond eternity. And you know what his forecast is for this world? He says, "Short term, the outlook is very bleak, it's very dangerous, but long term I'm bullish on the future," Jesus says. He looks long term and says, "Eventually everything's going to turn out great". Which is why if you want to have a profitable investment that will last throughout eternity, it means investing in God's kingdom's work. You know, I used this illustration a few years ago but it bears repeating. Just imagine you happen to be alive on the day Jesus was born, Christmas day, ad zero. We don't think it was zero, but let's just say it was ad zero, Christmas day, the day Jesus was born. You heard the news about his arrival, you heard about the magi and you said, "You know what, I think this Jesus guy is going someplace". I'd like to be a part of his ministry.
So you invest $1 in Jesus incorporated, the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, Christmas day, ad zero. And let's just say that's all the money you ever invest in Jesus incorporated, $1, and let's say it earns 6% interest every year. You know how much that dollar investment would've turned into? By today, it would be worth $720 quadrillion. A $1 investment compounded at 6% for over 2000 years. Somebody challenged me on that one time, I said, "Now go back and do the math and compound it". And they said, "Pastor, you're right, $720 quadrillion".
Now you may be saying, "Well, that's interesting but I wasn't alive 2.000 years ago when Jesus was born". That's right, but you're alive right now, and you're going to be alive forever and ever, and ever, not just for 2.000 years, but for 2 billion, trillion, quadri years and more. You'll be alive, and every dollar you invest in Jesus incorporated, God's work, every dollar you invest will compound and compound and compound and yield you eternal rewards. That's why investing in God's work makes sense. It is eternally and immensely profitable. And that leads to a fourth and final application. And that is my heart follows my investments. You know, in verse 21 Jesus adds this phrase that many people misunderstand. He said, "By the way, where your treasure is there your heart will be also".
Now, if I had been Jesus, aren't you glad I'm not? But had I been Jesus, I wouldn't have said it that way. I would've said where your heart is there your treasure will also be. Do you really love me? Then prove it by your giving for where your heart is there your treasure will be. You know, my dad used to drive a Volkswagen. He had a bumper sticker on it. It said, "Tithe if you love Jesus, any idiot can honk," you know. He had a great senses of humor. You know, that's true. I mean, one way we demonstrate how much we love the Lord is how much we invest in his work. But interestingly, that's not what Jesus said. That's kind of a no brainer where your heart is there your treasure will be. Instead Jesus said, "Where your treasure is there your heart will be," that is your heart follows your investments. For example, if your treasure is in the stock market, guess what you're going to be doing all the time? You're going to be checking the ups and downs of the Dow Jones industrial average. If your treasure's in your house or in your cars or in your clothes, that's where your affection is going to be as well. "Where your treasure is there your heart will be also".
Greg Rafferty tells a story about being on an overseas trip and he had a free day. So he said, I've always wanted to go to Zürich, Switzerland. So he said, I planned to spend one day in Zürich. So he thought to himself, okay, how many Swiss Franks do I need for one day in Zürich? And so he took some dollars, $80 specifically and converted them to Swiss Franks. His idea was I want to convert as little as possible so I don't have a bunch of Franks left over and have to change them back. Now, Greg says he had many more dollars in his bank account he could have exchanged, but he wanted to exchange as few as possible.
And then he made this application. He said, you know, most of us are going to be here on this earth for 80, 90 years maybe, but we're going to be in heaven for 80 quadri billion years and more. It seems kind of a waste to be here on earth for only a short time and to leave behind a huge stack of dollar bills that we'll never be able to use again. What makes more sense is to go ahead and start transferring our money right now to heavenly currency so it's there to await us and reward us for all eternity. You can't take it with you but you can send it on ahead of you. Everything invested in earth will one day be lost. Anything invested in heaven will never be lost.