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Monday, January 02, 2012

Time is money. NOT.

It's the New Year. Resolutions aside, how do you plan to spend the New Year? Whoever said Time = Money was quite wrong. Time is far more valuable. You can spend time and money, of course. But you can't save time. It cannot be stored or banked away.

We all live on a fixed income of moments that, like it or not, WILL be spent. Compounding the issue is that we don't know what the sum total of our "time income" will be. God knows how long we will live, but we don't. Most of us have a kind of vague notion of living for a while. Barring illness or tragedy, we figure about 70-90 years. Maybe longer if science whips up some long life concoction someday. But there's no guarantee. We cannot count on time like we might check our bank balance. We cannot purchase more time. Time is literally priceless.

The good news is that, like money, time can be invested. You can take "right now" and invest it in something. Trouble is, too many of us will invest in something that pays temporary returns. A bit of pleasure here, a warm fuzzy there. A tickle of the taste buds, a cheap thrill, a new gadget--fill in the blank with any number of self-centered endeavors.

This is short-sighted investment at its worst. Why not invest your "right now" moments in something that will last. And not just last a lifetime. I'm talking FOREVER. The best investments are those that have a lot of time to earn returns. That's why someone who starts putting a hundred bucks a month into a savings account at age 20 will have so much more money at age 60 than someone who doesn't begin investing until age 40. And what if we knew exactly what to invest in? What if we had the world's greatest financial adviser to give us a serious trader tip? Sure fire, can't miss HUGE windfall investment tip? That would pretty much ROCK, right?

More good news: God is omniscient. He knows everything. And He gave us the greatest investment advice in the history of mankind. He told us just how to spend our time so that we would reap the greatest return. He said, "Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. And love your neighbor" Matthew 22: 36-40 (*BPV, 2012)

Love God. Love others. That means spend your time for the benefit of God and mankind. If you do, you begin laying treasures up for yourself in heaven. Rewards, crowns, the coolest jobs, etc. etc. Sound good? Yeah, I think so. But it might sound a bit mercenary or materialistic to some. But why should it? God Himself tells us to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven. God Himself promises the rewards.

In his book of essays, The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis addresses this issue. "Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

I could write on this topic so much more, but I can't afford the time. I've got some investing to do. How about you?

* BPV = Bat Paraphrase Version