Return on investment is a phrase we think about when it comes to retirement plans. It is the concern of businessmen. “Shark Tank” has become a popular program on TV, and often the “sharks” ask an entrepreneur seeking an investment, “How will I get my money back?”
Return on investment (ROI) is a biblical principle. Matthew 25:14-30 records that Jesus taught valuable financial principles. You know the parable. A man left on a journey and entrusted money to three of his servants, expecting each of them to steward it well according to their abilities – that is, to generate for him ROI according to their experience, knowledge and capacity. Two of the servants wisely invested the master’s money, and they doubled what had been entrusted them. The third servant buried the money, fearing that he would lose the master’s money and suffer the master’s rebuke. Verses 27-28 record the master’s rebuke of the third servant and give us three principles we need to follow:
- The master expected the servant to leverage, not bury, the money.
- The master expected the servant to steward the asset in such a way that it would generate ROI.
- The master took away from the servant what he had previously entrusted to him and gave the asset to a “good and faithful” servant who had proven himself more effective, wise and responsible.
One writer paraphrased and added his clarifications to Jesus’ words in verse 29 as follows: “For to everyone who has (acted wisely by leveraging the assets entrusted to them), more shall be given (to them), and (they) will have (favor and blessing in) abundance, but from (those) who do not have (the wisdom to steward what I have already entrusted to them), even what (they have been given to steward) shall be taken away.”
I am familiar with dozens of ministries that need support. The question from Christ to me is, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward?” (Luke 12:42). My faithful and wise stewardship requires me to consider ROI. Is the ministry that wants my support producing ROI? I can’t support a ministry or even a missionary and simply trust that they are good stewards. I need to be informed and familiar with the leadership, the Mission Statement, Doctrinal Statement, and the policies and processes of the organization or their missionary.
Rejoice with us as we share the blessings of God as 2019 was another encouraging year financially for Baptist Church Planters and our missionaries. After the 2019 budget was approved in September 2018, several opportunities and needs became evident. The BCP Council approved revised budgets twice in 2019. The Council determined that they simply need to do the right thing and trust God as faithful and wise stewards. The general fund income versus expenses finished the year within a few thousand dollars of each other. The general fund will begin 2020 with an acceptable balance because God provided more than we needed in 2018.
Something we say often is “God is way out in front of us.” There is no way for us to take credit for what only God can do. Often we discover that God has orchestrated the lives and movements of people decades in the past, and we only find out about His plans as He reveals them at His designated time. God is always right on time!
Thank you for being informed stewards. Your gifts to the campaign as well as your regular support for Baptist Church Planters helped us finish the year well. I trust that your confidence in our stewardship will be justified through this update and that you will be encouraged in your own stewardship responsibilities as well. May we each seek to glorify God and be a “good and faithful servant.”