“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
Prior to moving to Nashville, the act of investing money was something I thought about doing when I was a grown up. Spending was much easier than investing, and candidly, it still is. I saved, and made deposits here and there, but I didn’t create a solid plan for my future. I casually thought, I’ll deal with investing later because I have plenty of time. I’m young! The problem with dealing with it later is later comes sooner than we think. How we spend and invest our money at any age matters when it comes to our future.
The same is true with our time. Who we invest in, and who we spend our time with matters when it comes to our faith.
When I read about Jesus’ life on Earth, I’m reminded of how He intentionally loved and invested in His 12 apostles. He spent time with countless people, showed love to everyone and engaged with people left and right. However, He focused in on His 12. I love how Jesus chose men from various political backgrounds, geographies and trades to be in His innermost circle. They were all different, but had the shared value of knowing Jesus was the real deal.
What I also love about Jesus is He didn’t lose sight of investing time in His father even with the weight of humanity on His shoulders. He dedicated time to pray in solitude so He could better invest in His 12. He disconnected to better connect. Our closest relationships can look like this, too.
Investing in people who are going in the same direction you want to go in life looks a lot like the way Jesus loved and still loves; without an agenda, with pure intentions, undistracted, with an unlimited amount of compassion, forgiveness, grace and humility. It’s making a promise and keeping it. It’s going through life, including the hard stuff, together. It’s small, regular deposits into the relationship, even if it’s just a text message, cup of coffee or phone call.
Investing requires sacrifice; it means saying no at times. On the other hand, it requires us to say yes to God and ourselves by letting our guard down, and believing we are worthy of being invested in. The return on our faithful, relational investments comes in the form of a deeper faith, companionship, eternal hope and joy. These are our long-term, lasting dividends. God created us for His glory and for each other; side by side, facing the cross together.
Spending time with people is not a bad thing. However, I think it’s the difference between creating temporary, socially fulfilling relationships, and deeply connected, long-lasting relationships. Like money, our time investments are what prepares us for the future we want to have. Our careless spending is what can get us in trouble.
When this idea was brought to my attention, it convicted me at the core. It prompted me to examine my heart and my motives behind why I spend time with certain people.
Here are the questions I felt God place on my heart:
- Do I share the same values as the people I am investing time in?
- Would I ask any of the friends I am investing in for advice?
- Am I investing time in someone because I want to be socially accepted, or because I genuinely love and care for them?
- Am I spending time with a group of friends out of convenience?
- Am I investing time in people out of a fear of being alone?
- Are my five closest friends raising my average or lowering it?
- Am I raising someone else’s average?
- Do the people I spend the most time with encourage me in my faith?
If any of these questions speak to you, I urge you to take the time to examine your closest circle and ask yourself why they’re there. Living life the way God intended us to live is inspiring, joyful and full of hope if we invest in the right people along the way. How much of a return on our investment are we truly getting if we are investing time in people who are lowering our average? Remember, our friends have the ability to help us or to harm us in our faith.
Ultimately, Jesus invested in ALL of us when He died on the cross for our sins. He is the perfect example of an investor on Earth, as well as in Heaven.
This piece was adapted from an article originally posted on palmsofjoy.com. Used with permission.