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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?"—1 Corinthians 9:11 (NIV)
Have you ever made an investment? Maybe you purchased some sort of real estate, started a business, bought stock in a company, or even planted a garden of herbs, fruits, or vegetables. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all made investments. One of the most significant investments I made was into my education. I spent seven years and lots of money to achieve two master’s degrees in the hope that it would yield me a great, stable job in the field I am most passionate about.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul is talking about an investment he and his companions have made. Not a new state of the art machine for his tent making business or a promising property in an up and coming neighborhood in Corinth. No, here the apostle is talking about an investment into people.
In context, Paul is talking about his rights as an apostle. In 1 Corinthians 9:1–2 (NIV), he says, “Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” He is defending himself and his colleagues from slanderous attacks made against them. And he’s saying that as someone who has made an investment, has sown the seeds in the field, and put care and attention into their growth, he and his coworkers have a claim to the harvest that comes from it . . . but instead of reaping it, they instead chose to, “put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:12 NIV). He is saying that though he had all the right in the world to ask for their support, he never did.
What a lesson for us today. Don’t invest into the lives of the people around you in the hope of receiving a return on investment. Don’t sow the seeds simply to reap a material harvest. Instead, invest in people out of a love for God and a desire to see them bloom and blossom!
Am I saying that you shouldn’t enjoy the fruits of the relationships you build? Of course not! The relationships themselves are beautiful and bountiful fruit if you’re putting true effort into them. But we should never invest in people because of what we can gain from them or to exploit them later. Invest in people as Christ invested in you. The bond of love and friendship is more than enough harvest!
DIG: Read 1 Corinthians 9.
DISCOVER: Has anyone ever tried to exploit your friendship or family ties? Have you ever done this to anyone? Have you ever made friends with someone because of who they were and what you could get out of it?
DISPLAY: Invest in people! Make those daily investments, sow those seeds, and allow your obedience to the Lord and the amazing relationships you build and enjoy to be the return on your investment.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.