The summer Olympics are over. There were many winners and many losers. But there are some who didn’t win a single thing that are real winners in my book. Like Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand and Abbey D’Agostino of the USA who both fell and then took time to help each other up to limp across the finish race. In last place of course. These gals are the true gold medal winners in my opinion.
And the losers…some of whom won gold, but didn’t conduct themselves in a gold medal manner. Maybe they should have received a rusty medal.
It reminds us that GOD can and will judge winners and losers quite differently than we do. He sees things that we don’t.
In the ancient Olympics, the winners won leaves woven into a wreath, or crown. Of course this kind of crown would wilt and fade eventually. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:25, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
He compared earthly crowns that fade with eternal crowns that don’t. And Peter speaks of a crown of glory that will never fade away. It won’t rust or be lost. (1 Peter 5:4).
Paul also talks about self-sacrificing discipline in order to receive a crown that will last forever and to not be disqualified for the prize. (1Co 9:22-27).
The context is sharing the gospel, not losing salvation, which is a free gift. He is talking about getting certain rewards, which are mentioned often in the Bible. We don’t know exactly what they will be like but be assured it will be a billion times better than a gold medal or any other thing of value here on earth. God doesn’t lie. It will be really worth it.
So, how should we invest?
Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:8: “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
Those who long for his appearing are longing for the next life. And what we LONG for determines what we INVEST in. And those that long for His appearing are investing in PEOPLE. People will transfer over to the next life but our earthly possessions do not. Like Paul said, people were his crown on the other side. That’s an investment that keeps going on and on forever.
We have a choice in how we invest ourselves. We can either invest in the here and now or we can invest for the next life. If we spend our life and energy only on earthly things, we will lose our investment because this world is passing away.
Our business, retirement fund, homes, furniture, jewelry, etc., are only temporary. If we live for these things, we will lose the investment value of our life.
But if we spend our lives by investing in people, then we will keep our investment for eternity, because people are eternal. They live on.
Jim Elliot said: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose!”
He gave his life as a missionary, martyred by the very people he was trying to help with the gospel. Some would say that his life was wasted. It was cut off when he was still young. But it was an investment. Many hundreds of people were challenged into missions by his life and death, and later the tribe was reached by others.
Do we all need to be a martyr or a missionary or a preacher to reap eternal rewards? No, but we need to invest our physical life to reap eternal benefits from it.
There are many ways to invest in eternity. Most people think of money, which can be used to invest in the eternal: church, missions, etc. But life mostly consists of time and effort with people, building relationships. Studying the word pays huge dividends as we obey it. Investing in the church and her people…sharing your life with people…helping folks who are hurting. So many ways to get involved and invest in others!
And we can’t forget the 2500 people groups still without a Bible or the gospel in their own language.
This is why we do what we do. Equipping the next generation of missionaries and Bible Teachers around the world.
Here’s some names that won’t be read on the evening news, like athletes or movie stars. But in God’s eyes they are famous and worthy of recognition:
They may be hard to pronounce and unknown to the world, but in God’s mind they are true champions. (See Hebrews 11, the Bible’s hall of fame) Their eternal crowns await them in heaven. They are busy teaching and preaching and training other Christians in some of the hardest to reach areas of Papua New Guinea.
But trainers need books. Books are kinda magic…did you know that? 🙂 They are absolutely essential! They are like seeds that are planted and keep producing year after year. They are tireless teachers; always ready, never tired. They never run out of batteries. So we keep busy writing study books for them and I go on regular mission trips and use the books to train pastors and teachers and their wives around the country.
Will you pray with us for wisdom and direction and stick-to-it-iveness? Pray for those on the front lines, and those training to go to the front lines. And pray about how God wants you to be involved in people. (If you’re reading this, you probably already are!)
For more information about our NTM ministry and opportunities to partner with us, please click this link: www.ntm.org/gordon_wohlgemut. You can partner with us to plant books in the hardest places in the world, to reap a harvest of souls. The investment is a sure thing. The rewards are eternal. PURE GOLD. Heavenly Gold.