Manley Beasley was one of a dozen mentors who profoundly impacted my life. He had the unmistakable gift of faith. He contracted several life-threatening diseases but he trusted God each day to live. He hung his daily existence to a promise God had given him that he would live to see his grandchildren. In the face of pain, fear and discouragement, Manley lived with these aliments in a bizarre and extreme show of faith. He learned how to throw his faith on Jesus not his own ingenuity.
I will never forget the day, standing in an elevator in Memphis TN, when he turned to me and asked, “Steve, what are you trusting God for that if he doesn’t come through you’re totally sunk?” I stumbled and mumbled, looked one way then the other and then finally muttered, “Nothing I guess.” I am convinced that we don’t give sacrificially because we lack the trust to do so. We say we trust God but when it comes to investing in others, we give to the point where we feel like we’re still in control – no further. In doing so, however, we rob ourselves of the blessings God has for us. If we indeed do trust him with everything, our giving and investing in people should show it. When I sacrificially give I’m trusting in God to make up the difference. We don’t give, because we don’t trust.
Repeat this verse to yourself. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart …” Now go and do it! I’ll join you as we find friends and colleagues to invest in, to go deep with on their journey.
When others flourish, you flourish. And when you flourish, others will flourish. That’s the truth. When you sacrificially invest in people of substance and matters of consequence, when you invest ahead of tangible returns or repayment, you are replanting yourself. Not only that, you’re contributing to a flourishing culture. That’s the power of investing in others. A spiritual or social ROI has just as much cultural impact as a financial one.
Ecc 2: 4-11 Message (get the lay out from the message)
Oh, I did great things: built houses, planted vineyards, designed gardens and parks and planted a variety of fruit trees in them, made pools of water to irrigate the groves of trees. I bought slaves, male and female, who had children, giving me even more slaves; then I acquired large herds and flocks, larger than any before me in Jerusalem. I piled up silver and gold, loot from kings and kingdoms. I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures — voluptuous maidens for my bed.
Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work! Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.
A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.