[This blog article is an adapted excerpt from the synopsis of my upcoming book, A Better Way: Invest in Rest for God’s Best. God willing, it will be published February 1. One way you can “invest” right now is by sowing into the book launch project. I’m having a book launch fundraiser event at my house TODAY (Saturday, November 16) from 11:30am-1:30pm (MST). You can also attend online via Livestream at this link during that time. Click here for more event details.]
Given that A Better Way (ABW) is in large part about where the supernatural meets the practical in business, it seemed apt to begin here with the business concept of “Return On Investment” breaking down the three key words: Invest, Rest, and Best. An understanding of these three key words is central to understanding what I mean by “A Better Way” to do business and life.
“Invest”: The idea behind an investment is that one must first give something up (called the “principal”) in order to later receive back more than what was initially invested (called the “return”). A really good investment opportunity will protect the original principal amount, yield the investor a present return in the form of a steady income stream, and also provide a very large future payoff in the form of appreciation of asset value that is many multiples beyond the initial principal. An investment that most people would say is too good to be true is one that is absolutely guaranteed.
However, Jesus described just such an investment that is available to all of us when He said, “Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life!” (Mark 10:29-31, MSG). In this remarkable passage of scripture, Jesus starts by giving a personal guarantee of investment success. He then promises the present benefit of what we will receive back in this life, and ends with the “bonus” of the future payoff of eternal life. I’ve found throughout life that when something sounds too good to be true, it’s virtually certain to be one of two things: the lies of men, or the Truth of God. The “Message” Jesus referred to above is the “Gospel” of Jesus, commonly translated as “Good Tidings”, or “Good News”. However, I’m told that a more accurate translation of the word “Gospel” is “the nearly too good to be true news”.
Therefore, the “principal” which I believe we must all give up as our “investment” in rest to yield the return of God’s highest and best for our lives can most simply and essentially be reduced to this: self-effort. We have an invitation to trust God by making the counterintuitive and countercultural decision to give up our own human wisdom and strength in exchange for God’s wisdom and strength. This is in accordance with 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NKJV): “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men”. By doing so, we avoid the “hard work” of toil, striving, anxiety, and limited human ability.
In any truthful financial investment prospectus, you will always see some iteration of the following caveat: “Past performance is not a guarantee of future results”. With the true Gospel of Grace, though, once again this is not true. Jesus’ perfect performance in His life absolutely guarantees our future and our results with returns as high as 30, 60, or even 100 times, and that’s just in this life! (Mathew 13:8). The Word of God, and perhaps more importantly the lives of those it has transformed with the Gospel, have the metrics and case studies to back up this seemingly preposterous claim.
“Rest”: Since “rest” is another key word in this book’s subtitle, I will use that as the filter for the book’s supporting themes and concepts as it relates to our “investment”. I use this (intentionally) very provocative statement at the beginning of Chapter 1: “I believe hard work is ungodly”. By this, I do not mean that God does not call us to and equip us for a life of intentionality, purpose, focused activity, and excellence (because He certainly does!). What I mean is that we are freed from the “toil” resulting from the Fall of Man (Genesis 3:17-19) and the Curse of the Law that Jesus delivered us from by His perfect, finished work. The Apostle Paul was a superb example of this, as his life demonstrates and he describes: “But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on
me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.” (1 Corinthians 15:10, NLT)
“Best”: There are many ways by which one can experience success, blessings and goodness; including a focus on honorable things such as: The Ten Commandments, hard work, behavioral modification, abiding by principles, alignment with spiritual and natural laws, and many other noble and respectable secular and scriptural truths. While none of these are necessarily bad, and in many ways all are actually very good, I have come to believe that there is a better way to experience God’s very best in and for our lives: His promised rest, through the finished work of Jesus Christ. This gives us access to the very best the Kingdom of Heaven has to offer us as sons and daughters of the King, both in this life and the next, and the most incredible thing is that it is given to us freely as the result of inheritance, as opposed to earned wages from our own labor. Hallelujah!! When we enter into God’s best through investing in His rest, we allow Him to accomplish more in a single moment through His ability than we could ever accomplish in a lifetime through our own abilities.
By giving up a focus on and preoccupation with ourselves, we are freed up to keep our focus on Jesus. In so doing, we are able to exchange:
· Stress for Rest
· Law for Grace
· Our flesh for His Spirit
· Old Covenant (or no covenant) for New Covenant
· Doing for Believing
· Control for Surrender
· Pride for Humility
· Doubt for Faith
· Our perspective for God’s perspective
· Our performance for His performance
· Our old life for His new life
· Human wisdom for God’s wisdom
· Human strength for God’s strength
· Our results for His results
In this book, the podcast, and the blog I offer my personal testimony as well as many others’ as real-life “client testimonials” of this seemingly too-good-to-be-true “investment” opportunity. And unlike the investment information many sellers provide, these are not based on “Pro Forma” (unrealistic, hypothetical scenarios) but rather “Historicals” (precisely accurate and verifiable historical information accounts). I believe that God’s supernatural grace and power will always eventually manifest in practical and measurable ways. Therefore, I make it a point to incorporate as many bottom-line metrics and results as possible in my testimonies to appeal to a practical-minded business audience. This is in keeping with what Jesus said in John 14:11 (AMPC): Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you.]
Call to Action: “Repent” (that is, simply to “change your mind”) of self-effort and your own human abilities so you can enter into God’s rest by depending on His limitless power, thereby experiencing His best.
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