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Ruth is a saint—the kind of living saint that makes you forget about the peccatorhood.  I visited Ruth in the hospital last week prior to surgery.  She shared with me that the previous night was good, not because she slept well—but because she didn’t sleep well.  She was up a lot—and she spent that time praying.  Her words were, “I passed the time by praying.”  Two thoughts struck me.  First, I hope that I am half the child of God that Ruth is one day.  Ruth smells like Jesus—and everything she does smells like Jesus!  The second thought was the antagonist that lives within me.  I challenged Ruth by telling her she didn’t pass her time—she invested it.

There is a difference, don’t you think, between passing ones time and investing ones time; between spending and investing.  An investment is an intentional sacrifice of immediacy for the sake of a hopeful return.  We expect to receive a return on our investment down the road.  As it is with our finances, so too it is with our time.  Investing your time is being a good steward of the most precious commodity that God has granted to you.  How are you investing your time?  What might you do today that moves away from spending time, passing time, or even wasting time and moves towards investing this gift?

In Kara Powell and Chap Clark’s book, Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids, they offer this challenge, “Many children’s and youth ministries say they want to have a 1:5 ratio of adults to kids (meaning they want one adult for every five kids) for their Sunday school class or small groups.  What if we reversed that?  What if we said we want a 5:1 adult-to-kid ratio—five adults caring for each kid?” (Pg 100)  This is only possible if we cast the seeds of time investment.  Will you invest your time, energy, and love into the lives of kids in your congregation?

I’ve also heard congregations who challenge the adults who work with their children and youth to know, not only the child’s name, but also the names of the child’s teachers at school.  Think about that for a moment.  How well do you need to know someone to know the name of their teachers at school?  What would this type of commitment to your children and youth do for the congregation where you worship?

I want every kid that walks through our doors during the week to know that there are people who love me and care for me and would go to the ends of the earth for me.  I want our congregations to be places that make a difference in the lives of the youth in our zip codes—not because we teach them about Jesus—but because we incarnate Jesus.  Will you invest your time today in the lives of folks in your zip code?  Can you name 5 kids who you will start praying for today and you wont stop praying for them tomorrow?  Invest—the dividends are out of this world!


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