I keep thinking about the question pastor Chris has been asking the last couple of weeks: "What is in your (my) hand?" It's been somewhat of a haunting time of reflection, if I can be honest.
I began thinking about all the things that I have - time, talents, resources (money, things, connections, etc...) - and then began thinking about how those things could be leveraged to bring about some real impact, not just for me but for this world. And what I ran into is something that I think a lot of people run into: I have tons of time, talents and resources - in fact I'm oozing with them, as most of you are as well - however I have them tied up in a lot of things that are bringing a poor return on investment.
I just recently watched the ESPN "30 for 30" film called Broke. This is a mini documentary that looks at the epidemic level of bankruptcy for former and current professional athletes. Something like 78% of professional football players declare bankruptcy within 3 years after their playing days, and around 53% of NBA players - and not just the bench-warmers, big-time money-makers.
People hear about these stories and wonder how these wealthy individuals could simply blow their money. The question is somewhat valid, but not all of these people are simply "blowing" their money. Many of them are, but many of them are investing their money, it's just that oftentimes they're poor investments.
There is also this term, "cash poor." It means that, while you're not technically poor, most of your money is tied up in non-liquid assets or investments like property, bonds, or other things that could potentially make you money, but you can't exactly get at immediately. This leaves you strapped when it comes to acquiring basic things.
This happens to non-millionaires just as it happens to millionaires. My wife and I had a conversation about 5-years ago while sitting on the back porch of our then-recently purchased home that circled around the same kind of issues. We had just bought this house, and while it was affordable and well within our budget, we were asking whether or not our hand were now tied when it came to being able to serve well. Could we up and do anything God was putting in our hearts now that we tied ourselves to a mortgage payment? Could we up and move if we felt called to go? In other words, had we taken somethings off the table because of this specific use of our resources?
Needless to say, the choices we make with our time, talents and resources limit what we can do with our time, talents and resources. If every minute of our day is booked, there is no room to act on "God-stuff." If all of our money is invested in one thing, are we able to effectively participate in something else if/when the time comes?
This looks different for everyone. But sometimes we can't see what's in our hands because our hands are tied. Sometimes what's in our hands isn't actually in our hands because we've put it somewhere else. Now I'm not telling everyone to cash in your 401k's, sell all of your possessions and give everything away, not by a long stretch. I'm saying that sometimes it's worth reevaluating what's in (and out) of our hands so that we can leverage our lives for more impact.
I'll leave you with this. I have a friend whose goal in life is: "to make as much money as possible," and I think it's beautiful! I think it's beautiful because the second half of that goal is this: "in order to give away as much money as possible."
What's in your hand? What do you need to get back in your hand?