The Wiser Investment

August 15, 2008

Suppose a well-known financial investment firm entrusted you with $10,000. The money is not to be used for yourself, but rather, is to be used to strengthen the company’s influence in the financial sector. You are given two options and the only instructions are that you take the money and invest it in an opportunity that would yield the greatest return. Neither option is necessarily wrong, but one will potentially produce a greater return in the end. 

The first opportunity involves a wide range of diverse short-term investments that would stimulate far-reaching exposure, diversity, and knowledge within the investing company about these varied financial markets, but would likely net marginal return in the investment for either the investor or investee. In other words, the company would benefit from learning more about all of the benefits of these particular markets, but the short-term investment would not lend itself to significant long-term benefit to either the investor or the investee. In the end, there would be very little way to measure the productivity of this kind of investment.

The second opportunity involves a focused, strategic long-term investment on one particular financial market. The risk in this investment is greater. This investment will require more intimate communication between the investor and investee, greater commitment from the investor toward this one particular market, patience to watch the investment grow, and willingness to lose some of the investment for the sake of greater gain in the end.

Both investments are wise. The question is: which is the wiser investment?

This scenario isn’t so different from the options we are weighing regarding Concord’s potential adoption of an unreached people group in South Peru. We’ve been charged by God with the responsibility of proclaiming His greatness and glory to our neighbors and the nations. Jesus has told us to take the Gospel to “Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Jesus also said that we won’t see him return in triumphant glory as conquering King until the Gospel is proclaimed to all nations (Mark 13:10). But what is the best strategy (or investment) on our part as we joyfully and obediently accept the charge to bring the message of Jesus to both our neighbors and the nations?

The reality about missions at Concord is that we are going to continue doing missions in some capacity. Over the past five years teams from Concord have taken the Gospel to New Orleans (LA), Bay St. Louis (MS), Chicago (IL), Chattanooga, (TN), Guatemala, Canada and Peru. All of these short-term opportunities have proven to be profitable for us at home as we’ve seen God place a greater sense of urgency within our hearts about how best to share this pearl of great price with the world. Seeds of the Gospel have been scattered both at home and abroad. However, because we’ve scattered seed far and wide without having either the time or opportunity to really prepare the soil for harvest, it is difficult to gauge how effective our investment in these areas for Christ has really been (with the notable exception of Chattanooga where we have invested significantly for the sake of Jesus).

Rather than take multiple short-term trips to an increasing number of destinations, doesn’t it make sense to invest in an opportunity that is accessible to us, spiritually and physcially depressed, yet open to the Gospel,  and where we know there is little to no viable, sustained Gospel witness? It is true that making a commitment to a specific, targeted area over the next 3-5 years will likely be more difficult than the kind of short-term trips we’ve grown accustomed to over the past 5 years. It is also true that doing so may require more training and equipping on our end for the sake of the Gospel in South Peru. And it is also true that adopting the Yauyos Quechuan people group will demand more from us relationally.

But think about the greater reward of that investment. Wouldn’t it be awesome to share in the joy of being among the first people to share with Peruvians made in the image of God who Jesus is and what Jesus has done to rescue them from their sin? Can you imagine the overwhelming sense of purpose and gratitude you would feel when you ask a man or woman if they have ever heard of Jesus, and when they say “no”, you get to be the first person to tell them about your glorious Savior and King? Can you imagine the joy of being a part of the harvest of planting a church in a village where there is no church rather than simply being a part of a team that flies into a country for a few days, puts on a puppet show and feeds a few hungry bellies, and then leaves in 8 days to go back our comfortable lives in the United States (please understand I am not denigrating these kind of short-term trips. I am only pointing out how one investment may be much wiser and more fruitful than the other)?

The Missions Committee has been planning and praying about South Peru for over a year now. The Spirit has been preparing our church for this opportunity for more than 5 years. This Sunday night (August 17) you will have the opportunity to hear more about why the Missions Committee believes we should adopt the Yauyos Quechua people group and how they think God has been preparing us to make this happen. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions this Sunday night, as well as on Wednesday September 3. Be sure to check out the display that will be in the Atrium sometime this coming week. Drop your questions in the Q&A box if you have concerns about logistics, strategy, safety or exactly what our long-term involvement might mean.  We’d also like to hear from those of you who are excited about the opportunity before us to invest in South Peru (and realistically, South America). Tell us why you are excited about what God is doing and why you believe the Spirit is leading us to South Peru.

John Piper has said:

When you have found the greatest treasure in the world [Jesus], you don’t need the world. You need room to share.

This is what the Missions Committee is saying to our church in all of their prayers, deliberations and discussions about God’s leadership in South Peru. We have the greatest treasure in the world. Yes, we need to share this treasure with Chattanooga. But Chattanooga is not big enough for this treasure. We need room to share with others – yes – with the world. Will you join the Missions Committee in the cause of making much of Jesus in Chattanooga, in South Peru, and beyond? See you Sunday night.

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