Past Performance Is Not Indicative of Future Results?
The U.S. government requires this disclaimer when purveyors of mutual funds make their pitch to the public. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
It’s like white noise, fine print at the end of financial services commercials. They put it there to protect overeager investors from themselves. But it may not be true. Not in regards to spiritual investments anyway.
In Luke 19 Jesus tells of a master who gives each of his ten servants one mina (ten pounds of silver) that would have been the equivalent of three months of wages. For argument’s sake, let’s say each servant gets $10,000 to manage while their boss is away.
When he returns, he calls the servants in for their reports. The first servant says he generated 10 times his original amount. And gives the master the original $10,000 plus $100,000 in profit. Not bad.
The second comes back with $50,000 in addition to the original $10,000. Only half of what his colleague pulled in. That said, if anyone said they could get you a 500 percent return on your investment, you would give them every dime you could invest.
The way the story is unfolding, you’d think the third servant will come in with $25,000 or maybe just an additional $10,000. Again - in today’s system, those would still be stellar results.
But the third servant comes back with the original amount, not a cent more. Now note the boss didn’t give anyone investment targets or quotas. The expectation is that everyone would get something back. Or maybe not. It could be that the boss would have tolerated a 10% loss if the employee gave a solid rationale for the investment choices. Maybe soybean futures were off that year.
Everybody expects some change. If the third servant had made any effort at all, his money would have trended one way or the other. The master is apoplectic. He can’t believe No. 3 didn’t have the wherewithal to simply walk the money to the bank and get incremental interest on it. So he takes the $10,000 from No. 3, leaving him empty handed. Then he awards it to No. 1, bringing his grand total to $120,000. Some of the other staff complains this isn’t entirely fair.
Jesus concludes the story by saying “‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away” (Luke 19:26). It’s a straightforward moral: God gives everybody something. Talent, intelligence, influence, health, even time. People who leverage those gifts for the glory of God and the good of others, get more. Those who squander them, get less. That’s it.
God is giving you $10,000 spiritual dollars. It’s not play money. This is not a hypothetical exercise. This is a true assignment, an actual mission with real stakes and real consequences.
What have you been given?
What are you doing with it?
Are you getting any Return on Investment on God’s resources with how you’re living?