I spent a little time figuring out what to do with some of our HSA money yesterday. An HSA is a savings account for our health care money and acts a little like a retirement account. No, I’m not planning on retiring soon- I believe Rachael and I could keep up our pace of life for as long as we’re healthy!
So I was looking at the different areas that you can invest HSA money in– stocks, bonds, mutual funds, rare coins, cd’s, and savings accounts. And I promptly decided that none of them is really worth spending much of my time on. Let’s say I put $2000 from our HSA that we won’t need for at least 2 years in some mutual funds that average 8%, I might make $350 in the next 2 years off of that investment. That could be a good deal if it only takes me 30 minutes to pick a low-fee, good-return mutual fund. But if I spent 20 minutes a day for 50 days a year for the next two years, because I worry about it losing value and whether or not I should sell the fund, then my return on my time goes from $700/hr to $9/hr.
I’m not making investment advice here or even claiming I know how to make $700/hr. What I do want to point out is the power of focusing on what’s important vs. being distracted by worry.
A famous guy named Jesus once said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” This well-known verse is taken from Jesus’ sermon on the mount (it sounds better than ‘hill’) along with, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Often these two statements get subdivided into separate sermons, conversations, or arguments. But they were delivered as part of one big piece of communication that Jesus gave when he saw a large crowd and sat down to talk to his followers. Since that time a lot of people have spent years speculating about all the implications of this one speech, and I hope that I spend a lot of time over the rest of my life trying to wrap my mind and heart around what he said.
Today my thoughts on this passage look a little like this:
Jesus was big on storing up treasure in heaven, not on earth
“Storing up treasure” sounds a lot like investing to me
Earth= bad place to invest because of moth, rust, and thieves
Heaven= good place to invest because it puts your heart in the right place
Investing can lead to worry, even if it’s just what to eat or wear
Worry doesn’t add a single hour to your life- it’s more likely to subtract hours
This stuff sounds great, but what do I do now?
Jesus addressed this with another well-known phrase in the same lesson, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
I think what I’ve incorporated into my life from Jesus’ teachings are these things:
God’s Kingdom and His righteousness are first.
On a daily level, this gets played out every morning when I wake up and take the dog out, praying for the day ahead that I would seek these things first. Which then leads to reading the Bible and more prayer with Rachael. Then I have to exercise my faith that these things (food & clothing) will be given to me throughout the rest of the day. I thank my parents for modeling this from an early age!
I don’t have to worry about tomorrow or what I eat or drink.
This frees me up to plan without worrying! Planning is proactive, but worrying is reactive. I think that when I plan my time well, I keep seeking God’s Kingdom first. In order to store up anything, which Jesus says to do with treasure in heaven, you have to be producing something to store and then have a plan to not expend it all as soon as you produce it. I try to spend the first moments of each day (after the stuff I already said I do) planning how to spend the rest of my waking moments. One guy I’ve flown for does this as far out as 2, 5, and 10 years to make sure he’s going in the right direction. John Maxwell, leadership guru, plans out his entire year during a little planning session at the beginning of each new year. I hope to become an expert planner during my lifetime!
My treasure, and therefore my heart, will be stored up in heaven.
I can go about the things of life, knowing that they are only temporary and that it can all be eaten by moths, get rusty, or be stolen by others. I am free to invest my time, energy, and money in people and projects that I think will help me to store up treasure in heaven!
Right now our focus is on Guatemala. God is moving through our church, through Buckner, and most recently us, to take care of these boys in Central America. We are invested in connecting our community at Maryland with the Kingdom moving work in Guatemala. It’s almost a daily struggle with worry to stay focused on God and how he’s moving rather than to try to make everything line up by our strength or with the little money we have.
Let me encourage you with this, since you’ve made it this far: God makes good promises and he’s got a phenomenal record of following through on them. Jesus said that if we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness that all the other things will be given to you. This is truth and not just some words on a page. May you exercise faith and invest your life fully focused on Jesus- His Kingdom and His Righteousness!