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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Investing that Returns

I spent four days in Curacao this week. For those geographically challenged, that's in the southern Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. I went to scout out and plan much of our summer mission trip there.

Most of my time there was spent listening and talking to people. Some were friends from former trips. Others were first contacts. Here are a couple...

Cesar. Mechanical Engineer at Xerox. Speaks 4 languages. Moved to poor neighborhood 8 years ago to take Jesus to the 80+ families living there.

Emma. Cesar's husband. Works at international school. Leads much of the ministry in theirs neighborhood using her creative prowess. Loves animals and children.

Caroline. Christian counselor, radio host and local missionary who was born in Curacao. Loves dogs and swims in the Caribbean regularly for exercise. Has passion for discipling ladies.

Herman. Along with wife Bep sold everything except suitcase of clothes, toolbox and sewing machine moved to Curacao from Holland. Had never been to Curacao. Started ministry from scratch totally on faith--children's hospice. Orphans & children dying.

Ferris. Retired banker. Member of Holiday Beach Church. Filling in the gap left by missionary pastor who left several years ago. No training so far. Is having more fun than ever.

What do all these people have in common? A couple of things.

1. They are investing in other people. Poor people. Rich people. Singles. Lost. Followers of Jesus. US airmen. Children. Orphans. Dying children.

2. They love what they do.

These people are taking their most valuable resource--time--and giving it to other people. They are showing their love for God by loving people.

They shame me.

How much time do I spend investing in other people? How much time do I spend doing other things?

As I hear their stories, I am inspired by them. So I must ask myself, "Self, why do they inspire me?" The answer must be that are allowing God to change lives through them.

Does my life inspire anyone, I wonder.

Take-away: Invest in people. Jesus did.