I have invested in people for my gain and not theirs.
1 Peter 5:2 “…not greedy for money, but eager to serve.”
I hate it that I have had to learn this lesson the hard way. But the truth is, I have, more than once. It has not been so much for money but for attention, “pats on the back”, being thought of as wise, etc.
Coming face to face with our own selfishness is never pretty but it is necessary if we are going to be used by God fully.
Here is the problem. When we invest in people from this perspective it reduces them to an asset to be used rather than person to be loved. That is unbiblical.
If we invest in someone for our own gain, we will move on to the next person once we have gotten all that we can from them. When we do that we are not loving, but using. This leaves people with a faulty picture of love. It leaves people hurt and confused.
This kind of disciple making is in line with what Paul warned us against in Philippians 2:3 when he said, “do nothing from selfish ambition”. This same theme is seen in Paul’s 2nd letter to the church at Corinth. “So death is at work in us, but life in you…For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God.”
Paul never served for the sake of his own gain but willing chose to forsake his gain so that God would be glorified in the ones he was discipling.
Biblical discipleship always looks to help the other person grow as a follower of Jesus for the sake of the Kingdom. You help them succeed. You help them discover what God is doing in them and then being committed to His movement in their life.
Here are a few qualities of someone who invests for the sake of others.
1. Humble – Proud people are about themselves. Humble people are about others.
2. Secure – Secure people can celebrate success in others without feeling like their own value is being threatened.
3. Listeners – Developing the skill of genuine listening, rather than always being the one talking opens the door to more clearly hear the voice of the Spirit.
4. Teachable – To help others succeed you must be willing to learn as well as embrace the moments when you are wrong.
5. Committed – Those you are investing need someone to be committed to the movement of God in their life. They need you to willing to walk with them as far as you can.
Don’t make the mistake I have made. Invest in people for their gain.