investments {the long road of covenant}

steve & i are investors. it's the way we do our finances, our parenting, our relationships, our time.  it's the way we do life. it's a lifestyle that we feel we're called to.
early in our relationship, we both felt God speak clearly to us through this scripture...

"be very careful, then, how you live - not as the unwise but as the wise, making the most of every opportunity." 
{eph 5:13-16}

we are investors. and we're aspiring to live as the wise, not as the unwise. making the most of every opportunity. seeing everything as an investment.

us Christ-lovin folk have often heard teaching on investments nestled between tithes & offerings & the parable of the talents. i have long subscribed to the principle of sowing & reaping and it has unlocked something spiritual in my life. but this revelation is new to me. investments aren't just limited to finances... what of emotional investments? relationship investments? and the nitty gritty about how i actually feel about investing in fallible people?

we all instinctually move to protect our investments which, in the realm of relationships, means i stick to the few solid relationships i've invested in. the safe ones. the ones that give a good & easy payout without any risk of over-investment.  and ideally, we like to chose our relationships very carefully. but sometimes, and especially in our profession of faith, relationships chose us. these are not usually the glamourous, sitcom BFF's. they can be the hard & unattractive relationships that have no particular or apparent promise of a payout.

it's the discomfort & demand of the "i'd-rather-not" relationships, the one's i am so tempted to discard that have produced the most fruit in my life. they provoke my own areas of weakness & selfishness & challenge them to change. they expose mouldy motives & other ugly things that creep & lurk in my heart, things i didn't even know were in there, things that would otherwise be left conveniently concealed & unchallenged. they dig & pinch at my resolve & dedication but in the end, these kinds of relationships produce manifold what was sown into them. through the slow, painful churning over of my own selfishness being culled under to produce a plump crop of ripe fruit. they are the underestimated, hidden treasures. the diamonds in the rough. and they have become some of my most precious & solid friendships now. 

"overpay for your relationships like He did for our relationship with Him."
{todd pulsifer}
in a capitalist society that thrives on minimum investment for maximum profit, it may be difficult to conceptualize why one would chose to over invest in a relationship with little payback or maybe a fair amount of difficulty & discomfort along the way. when a relationship runs against the grain of instant gratification or God forbid, a relationship breaks... our society says replace it. trade it in. cut your loses & move on. but Christ says forgive & forbear. give yourself to the patient, selfless detail work of daily communion with each other. to covenant. to fellowship.

"the people outside are too broken & hopeless for us to settle for a notion of fellowship as a kind of comfortable togetherness that has no transforming, empowering, explosive effect when we meet." 
{john piper}

when fellowship is reduced to church socials & picnics, we have lost something vital to our inheritance. the Truth speaking & death bringing& Christ resurrecting & grace giving & life living in such an intimate way that there is no supplement. we were made to live & find fulfillment in each other through Him. we need each other whether we like it or not.

i know now that i am not called to the pretty, neat & tidy BFF or even the BFFE.  i'm called to the refiner's fire of relationships. the one's that chisel & shape into the likeness of Christ. the one's that pull the Christ out in me & pull me in closer to His heart, into His body. not the hollywood style, feel good relationships but the plough the hard ground until it's a lush, green meadow kind of one's. it's often dirty & unattractive work as it can take time for relationships to turn over. years sometimes. but for the diligent, for the few that stay the course, there is no reward like covenant.

bff's make cliques but covenant makes family. blood family because it's through the grace & forgiveness & forbearance of Christ's blood that we become bonded.

i pursue these kind of relationship investments because He did. He invested in me when there was no payout & i have such a strong desire to see a 100% return on God's investment of grace in my life. it's because of Him that i am living as the wise not the unwise, making the most out of every opportunity, every relationship. stewarding each relationship like the, apparent or unapparent, treasure that it is. for He wastes nothing.

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