By: Rev. Ed Schneider, M.P.Th.
“Hannah was brokenhearted and was crying as she prayed, ‘Lord, All powerful, I am your servant, but I am so miserable. Please let me have a son. I will give him to you for as long as he lives, and is hair will never be cut.’ Elkanah (her husband) and his family got up early the next morning and worshipped the Lord. Then they went back home to Ramah. Later the Lord blessed Elkanah and Hannah with a son. She named him Samuel because she had asked the Lord for him.” Hanna gives Samuel to the Lord. (1 Samuel 1:10-12, 19-21 CEV)
Recently there has been a high level of attention paid to the stock market. Whenever you find yourself watching the news, it doesn’t take the commentators long to tell you either how well or how poorly the market is doing. The people who place their money in Wall Street do so with the hope and intention that their stock portfolios will do well by making a profit. However, it doesn’t always turn out that way, does it?
Not unlike Anna, I have come to realize that there are other types of investments that are more important than the money. I have learned that with every action, attitude or activity we choose to display or believe in there is a “life Investment” that will either gain or lose some sort of dividends. Those who study well the “life Investment” options that have been placed before them will have the opportunity to gain large profits, if they are taken seriously and directed for the glory of God instead of merely the world around us.
The above passage of scripture in 1 Samuel depicts a woman who was a shrewd investor of what she viewed as the important things of her life. She made some very wise investments that continued to reap dividends long past her earthly days and those same life Investments can still be strongly felt even during our time.
Let’s take a quick look at Hannah’s investment portfolio and how she became known as a very wise “life” investor.
First, Hannah was married to a man with two wives. This was a cultural reality of her time and yet if it was not managed well it was a recipe for disaster. Yet, Hannah was not looking for a way of getting out. Rather she stayed in the family and she worked to make the best of a bad situation. Hannah invested her life in her family in spite of the fact that circumstances weren’t as pleasant as they should have been in her home. Even through continual family discord, contention and disappointment she was determined to keep investing in her family as the primary focus of her life portfolio.
It may appear for some of you that investments you have made in your family are not paying off. It may look like your spouse or your children are not all you planned, prayed and hoped they would be. However, let me encourage you to keep investing. Why? Because God’s heavenly stock market hasn’t closed yet. Your family is too important for you to stop investing yourself in them – not now – not ever.
Beloved, I implore you to just keep investing. For some of you it may seem like you do all the giving and receive none of the blessings you were hopeful you would experience. However, for those who make wise investments in their families, the dividends – the profit – the blessings of God come at unexpected times and in marvelous ways.
Secondly, Hannah made wise investments in her faith. In 1 Samuel 10:10-11 (listed above) we see a woman who knows the Lord on a personal level. Hannah’s was no superficial faith. She had a depth of faith that is rare in this world. She was a woman who possessed a practical faith in God. She didn’t just know “about” God. She “knew” God and she trusted the Creator for all of her needs. She leaned upon the Divine and trusted the Almighty to make what seemed for others “impossible” likely in her life. She had a personal relationship with the God of Israel and it showed. She kept investing in her prayer life and in her proclamation of praise. She was a believer and she was openly active in the practice of her faith.
Finally, Hannah also made wise investments in the future. Hannah made the ultimate commitment a mother can make. Hers was not a monetary commitment. She totally gave her son Samuel to the Lord. She held nothing back. She committed him to the Lord before he was even conceived, she dedicated him to the Lord when he was born and she gave him completely to the service and glory of the Lord. Imagine how hard it must have been for her to leave her son Samuel at the Tabernacle. Imagine her pride as she watched him develop into a person devoted to the work of God.
I wonder how many of us still find that same kind of value and purpose in our commitment to give our children to God. I suspect not enough.
Some of you have children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews who may need to be placed on the symbolic altar of God’s grace. Some of our wayward children, both young and not so young, need someone praying for them. We need some moms and dads – grandmas and grandpas – aunts and uncles – even other friends and family – who will lay these lost and clueless souls on God’s altar and trust Him to touch them.
Because she made the kind of investments she did, an entire nation was blessed for many years. In fact, Hannah’s investment in Samuel continues to reap dividends to this day anytime anyone is helped, fed, challenged or blessed through the story of his life. Hannah’s investment in Samuel continued to live on long after she was dead. He grew to be a man of immense righteousness and leadership because of the investment his mother made in his life before he was born and during all those early years. Those are the kind of dividends we should all want to reap.
- What kind of investments are you making in the lives of those around you?
- Have you been making good or bad investments?
- Whether you recognize the reality of what you are choosing to do OR NOT DO, you are investing OR NOT INVESTING every day you live.
- What kind of dividends will your “life investments” pay?
The good news about God is, even if you’ve been making really horrible life investment decisions God still lets you get rid of your personal junk bonds and bad stocks so that you can learn to keep on investing in the ways of the Lord. God will encourage you to keep investing in the Divine gift of “Christian love” that surpasses all understanding, all levels of earthly peace, as well as personal patience, Godly grace, and the mercy of the Lord.
My advice too many of you is this; keep investing God’s way. It’s worth it.