Investors (part 2)

Yesterday I talked about people who invested in Lora and I and Discovery Church before it was even in existence.  I want to ask you a question:
Who and what are you investing in?

I’m basically breaking this down into two parts.  Today, I’m going to focus on investing in people and relationships and then tomorrow I’ll end wrap this up by talking some about where we actually are investing our money.

Whatever kind of investing you’re doing, there is always a “cost.”  With people and relationships, the biggest “cost” is time.  You can’t really invest in individual people apart from “spending” time with them.  So here are some thoughts to consider as you evaluate who you’re investing in:

  • Spend time listening.  Have you ever been around that person who always talks and it’s always about them?  We all have.  Here’s a hint – don’t be THAT person.  Learn to listen.  If you don’t know how to listen, learn to ask questions and wait for the answers.  It’s not about your story, it’s about you learning theirs
  • Spend time building up.  Be an encourager.  Look for ways to affirm people for who they are, not just what they do.  Acknowledge important dates and events (like birthdays, anniversaries) and even if you don’t know what to say when someone’s going through a difficult time, acknowledge it and at least let them know you care.
  • Spend time challenging.  I don’t mean challenge their authority or positions and getting into arguments.  What I’m talking about is pushing them to “take it to the next level.”  It’s a lot like encouraging them but instead of encouraging the good things they’ve done or reminding them of what God has done in them, challenge them to try something new or let God do something new in them.  Be a motivator, a coach and help them move past the areas where they feel “stuck.”
  • Spend time blessing.  Do something for other people.  Whether it’s a single parent or a young couple, offer to watch their kids so they can have some time to themselves.  Cook them dinner.  Better yet, invite them over for dinner.  Do things in secret that you know they’ll appreciate (if you don’t know what to do – go back to the first point and start listening)
  • Spend time praying.  It’s never a bad idea to pray for your friends and for other people.  What’s even better is to pray with them.  Start with something simple – no fancy words, format, place or position – it’s not necessary.  Just talk to God about them and with them.
  • Spend time being available.  We have all met people who are “time-suckers” and when they call, we don’t answer the phone because we don’t have the time.  That doesn’t mean you don’t have any time.  See what time you have and be willing to invest it into people.

If you’re married, invest like this in your spouse.  If you’re a parent, invest like this in your kids.  After that, look at who you spend time with.  My guess is some of us spend more time with fictional TV characters than we do with real people, mostly because we know their schedule – Tuesdays at 8, Wednesdays at 9, etc.  If that’s the case, schedule the time you’re going to spend investing in other people and then keep your appointment!

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