When you think about where to invest, the experts will tell you to look at the Return on Investment (ROI). If you put $100 in a bank account with a 3% per year interest rate, you will earn about $3. If you put that same $100 into stocks returning 7% annually, you will earn $7. If you invest $100 in the education of a child, what is the return? If you give $100 to your church, or a charity like the Haiti-Micah Project, what do you get? How do you measure the ROI when we put our treasure in heaven?
I think we should take this question seriously. Our stewardship campaign is titled, “Treasure in Heaven” this year and we have been looking at the different ways people have used their gifts and talents to put their treasure in heaven.
Anne Prather shared the wonderful story of learning to play music on the streets. She found, to her surprise, that she became a part of the community of people living, working, and surviving on the streets of Seattle. She was one of them. Included. Protected. Valued.
Terry Rogers shared his story and his portrait photography with us. He spoke of the sacred “covenant” that he enters into with each person when taking their picture. They agree to share an essential part of who they are and he agrees to hold that, to show that essential, sacred aspect of their person with respect and care.
The return on Anne’s investment is a caring, protecting community. The return on Terry’s investment is that sacred covenant, and the gift of a portrait that somehow reveals the divine spark in another person. When we support our church congregation with our time, talents, and treasures, our investment creates and nurtures relationship with one another, with our neighbors, with the hungry and homeless, and with God. That’s a pretty great return.