I recently read an article on one of the longest running, most profitable scams in history. Operating using the pseudonym of Maria Duval, a supposed psychic, an organization of people have over the last few decades scammed people out of hundreds of millions of dollars. These people weren’t coerced or forced. They gave the money willingly in exchange for supposed psychic readings, mystical talismans, and the like.
We’ve all been there. Maybe not sending money to a psychic in exchange for bogus healing crystals, but we’ve all been tricked by a movie trailer into seeing a film that left us wondering why we wasted that two hours of our life on it. We’ve all purchased something that we thought would be fun/useful/cool only to realize a week or two later that we haven’t used the thing at all.
It’s one thing to have someone else con you out of money, time, etc. It’s another thing when you con yourself out of something that you truly want. Yet for most of us we are, day by day, doing exactly that. How? We are investing our resources – time, money, talent, emotion – into things that give us little, or in many cases, negative returns on investment. You get what you invest in, every time.
The Apostle Paul states this bluntly in his letter to the Galatians. He writes;
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
God Cannot Be Mocked
Like the thousands of people who bought into the Maria Duval scheme, we can be deceived by the lies that the world, the devil, and our flesh attempt to sell to us day in and day out. You can get rich quick if you buy this real estate investment program! You can binge eat and then “detox” away any of the negative effects! You can have sex without consequences! You can buy that new car now and not pay for it until later!
Rarely do the lies get laid out so explicitly, but they are there regardless. We’re being sold a lie that says it’s possible to circumvent the principle that what you reap is what you sow. Don’t buy it! Don’t be so foolish as to think that you can plant poison ivy and grow wheat.
And it’s not just foolishness. According to Paul’s words to the Galatians, thinking that you can sow one thing and reap another is God-mockery. God has set up an order to the universe and attempting to get around that order is to go against God’s decree. And if you’re familiar with pretty much any portion of the Bible you know that that never goes well.
What will you invest in?
Paul lays out two (and only two) alternatives here in Galatians. Invest in the flesh and reap destruction. Invest in the Spirit and reap everlasting life. He leaves the question hanging there for us to answer for ourselves; which one will you invest in?
Reading Paul’s words in the verses above makes it pretty easy to decide. Of course I want to invest in the Spirit! Who doesn’t want everlasting life? And of course no one wants destruction. The problem is that this thing isn’t a one-time decision. Our investment in these things are the million miniscule decisions that we make each day. We can’t withdraw our entire future’s worth of decisions and deposit them once and for all in the Spirit category. Instead God has fashioned it so that we need to be like the poor woman that Jesus observed placing her one coin in the offering plate, and repeat that action day after day.
So what will you invest in today? Will you invest in the flesh by doubling down on entertainment and watching an extra episode or four of your current binge? Will you overeat because the food is just soooo good? Will you go after the relationship you’ve been longing for regardless of what wisdom says because it feels good?
Or will you invest in the Spirit by seeking first the kingdom of God by taking time to genuinely converse with the people you encounter today? Will you carve out space in your day for real time in God’s presence? Will you invest in the Spirit by giving generously to the homeless person you stop next to at the intersection downtown?
What you invest in will be your reward. You get what you’ve bought. No one goes to destruction without purchasing their own ticket. No one goes into everlasting life without buying into the Spirit. Don’t get scammed by the things of this world that always break down and fail. Instead, put your resources to work in the Kingdom of God and watch as it produces a harvest of righteousness that impacts you and those who follow you.
May your reaping be rich with the everlasting life that’s found only in Christ!