I’ve always enjoyed the show Shark Tank. You know, the one where business owners and dreamers pitch their companies to a group of uber-rich investors. Here’s how it works: the owners need capital in order to bring their ideas to fruition. The investors are happy to supply that capital… for the price of ownership in the company. Since they adopt the risk that they will lose money if the business doesn’t pan out, the incentive is that they own a portion of the company, so they’ll recoup a handsome return on investment if it does well.
They can never know for certain whether a business idea will work, but the responsibility is on the investors to do as much due diligence as possible and only take the risk of investment if they’re more confident than not that the investment will pay off.
In some cases, the deals are more complicated than a simple capital-for-ownership swap. Depending on the circumstance, the deal sometimes involves a royalty. The shark provides the money, but instead of receiving a percentage of ownership of the company, they receive a dollar amount off every unit sold.
This is going to be an admittedly a somewhat comical analogy, but it’s how my brain works, so stick with me.
Imagine you’re an investor– a shark– in the Shark Tank. Jesus is pitching to you. Here’s his offer:
Hello shark, my name is Jesus of Nazareth. My business is the Business of Heaven, and I’m here today to offer you an exciting opportunity to be a part of the greatest deal in all of history. Here’s what I’m asking for:
Everything you’ve got.
And here’s what’s in it for you:
Everything I’ve got.
It’s a straight-up trade. But let me tell you, it’s not an even one.
Now, I don’t know about you, but the five loaves and two fish in my possession don’t hold a candle to thousands of loaves in His. The eternal inheritance of Christ is worth a bit more than the moth-ridden and rust-eroded set of possessions I’ve accumulated for myself.
The problem is, it’s hard to keep focused on that reality when his eternal inheritance is presently invisible and my shiny possessions don’t seem to bear the marks of erosion quite yet.
Pause for a second and reflect on the deal you’ve been given. As an investor, there will never be another who will come into the Tank and offer you a better deal. The return on investment is infinite. No matter how many things you empty your hands of to uphold your end of the deal, you’ll find that endlessly more is placed back in them.
When this truth reverberates in your soul– when it is unbelievably, experientially true for you– you’ll become eager to help other investors get in on the same deal.
See, that’s the beauty. Even though Jesus has offered you this deal, he offers it to everyone else as well, and his offer to them does not keep you from your reward. You don’t get less if other investors are brought in on the deal, so there’s only incentive to bring others in.
We’re in the age between the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the Great Multitude (Revelation 7:9-10). After Jesus resurrected, he commissioned his disciples to make disciples of all nations. In John’s apocalyptic vision of the future, he saw “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…”
The Great Commission is currently being fulfilled, and we have assurance that it will finally be fulfilled one day. As we live in this “already, but not yet” time, we have the opportunity to live out this great deal we’ve invested in.
Each one of us possesses some kind of treasure that can be sacrificed for the kingdom– our finances, our possessions, our resources, our talents. We hold these things in our hands, but the question is, Does God possess this thing, or do I?
If you are a disciple of Jesus, He owns it. That’s how the trade works. He’s got a claim on it all. Whether it’s your finances or your time or your energy, it all belongs to Jesus. It may be in your hands for the time being, but that’s simply a result of living life in this in-between age.
Anything you have is merely borrowed from God.
So, this begs the question: What are you doing with God’s resources?