Heart Matters: Wise Investing

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We work to make money.
We’re careful with our money. We take it to professionals who tell
us what to do with it, how to keep it, how to manage it, and how to
make it grow. We know how important money is to our livelihood. We
know that if we aren’t smart about how we use and invest our money,
the results can be disastrous for our lives and for our
families.

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Children’s ministry is a lot like investing. But rather than
money, we invest ourselves. We invest our time. We’re careful with
the kids and families we minister to. We’re professionals when it
comes to loving and shepherding the children in our care. We know
how important children are to God. And we’re smart and innovative
with our programs for kids. The big difference is that we’re
investing in something infinitely more precious and valuable than
any amount of money ever could be.

Now you might say, “I only work with kids once a week. That
doesn’t exactly amount to a serious investment.”

If that was your initial thought, you’re underestimating the
influence you have in that hour or two per week — and you’re
forgetting God’s awesome ability to change lives through you.

Think back to when your personal spiritual transformation began.
Someone was Jesus to you. Maybe it was a Sunday school teacher or a
parent or grandparent. Maybe it was a friend or co-worker. Whoever
it was, someone made an investment in you along the way and let God
work through him or her to reach you. If you think you can’t have
the same type of influence, you’re wrong.

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Here’s a perfect example. Recently a 3-year-old boy arrived at his
classroom in our ministry, only to find his regular teacher wasn’t
in the room to greet him. Heartbroken, he looked up at his mom and
very genuinely asked the only question he could think of: “Where’s
Jesus, Mommy?”

His question didn’t arise out of confusion, and he wasn’t too
young to know the difference; he asked this question because his
teacher was so effectively investing in her kids that she was Jesus
to them.

So what’s the secret? How do we go about being Jesus to kids? The
secret is…there is no secret. All you have to do is love your
kids. Not like you love your car or a great pair of shoes or your
golf clubs. Children need to be loved by us the way God loves us,
without condition — flaws and all — just because. That’s what God
calls us to do, whether we volunteer with kids once a week or every
day of our lives. God works through all of us in powerful and
mighty ways to influence kids — whether it’s one hour a week or
10.

They say Christianity is always “one generation away from
extinction.” But if we love as Jesus loves and show children Jesus
by investing in their lives, Christianity won’t become extinct —
or bankrupt. We’ll probably never see the influence we have on
these kids while we’re here on Earth, but you never can tell what
your small investments may add up to. God will manage your
investment, care for it, and help it grow in ways you could never
imagine. So go ahead and invest — your influence is eternal.

Jessica Castello is a children’s pastor in Grove City,
Ohio.

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