Monday, April 12, 2010

Banking 101

this is something i wondered on my drive home tonight:

what is it to invest in someone?

if you think about investing in anything, it seems implied that you are putting into this thing in hopes that it will return something to you, or produce something for you. you invest money in the stock market in hopes that it will be multiplied over a number of years and you will have a retirement fund. you invest in your home in hopes that by doing so, its value will be raised and you can either be worth more as the owner or possibly sell it for more money than you bought it. you invest in a garden in hopes that it will bear fruit and you can eat.

in all these examples of investment, there's a common thread: giving to get.

then why in the hell do we ever talk about investing in people? are we so self absorbed to believe that by our actions, another human can be swayed to begin producing what we want for ourselves? whether its affection to the investor, or a changed lifestyle on the investee that thus gives the investor grounds to gloat, it all adds up to the common thread.

as a natural born capitalist, i have a hard time disconnecting what i know to be fiscally wise from what i know to be spiritually wise. but hear me, i believe they SHOULD be disconnected. there is such a danger in equating what works for money and what works for our souls. "for the love of money is the root of all evil." pretty strong words for an extremely true statement. but strong for a reason. God knows us. He made us, so how could he not know us inside and out? he knows our draw to abundance. our longing for more, more, more.

but i digress.

my goal wasn't to talk about money. my goal was to talk about our relationships with each other. i have heard countless times people referring to how they act towards others as "investing in them." ok, you may be thinking, "i don't want anything for myself in my investment in [this person]." but it goes beyond that, i think. more than our selfish desires to be loved and respected, more than our wanton pursuit of abundance, i am concerned with our belief that we are to be a part of the changing of a person. and the concern lies within that last sentence. why are we trying to change someone? because we know what's best for them? because we can be the one who changes them? pretty arrogant statements.

now, i'm not saying to ignore everyone and just let everyone do whatever "they think is best" or "right". i'm just suggesting that we change our language from investment to something that is more true of what we're called to do: love.

why can't we just love someone with no expectations of them becoming what we want? with no expectations of them becoming who we think they're "supposed to be"?

just ask yourself this question: "if i did nothing but love every single person around me, and never saw any benefits, or results, but just the same life i always knew from before i loved them, would i still love them?"

most of us don't want to admit our answers. i don't.

i want to love someone who loves me.
i want to love someone and see them grow.
i want to love them and be blessed.

the funny thing is, if we all did it, this wouldn't be a problem. if there was a community of people who could literally love each other selflessly all the time, we would never have to worry about our own needs being met. because they already have been.

we are the church, and that should be our pursuit. not an investment, but a terrifying journey with each other.

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