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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Results-based Christianity

When it comes to retirement plans, I have every reason to like the one I have now.

Every reason except one.

  • It was picked out for me by financial experts at the place where I work -- financial experts who have nothing but my best interests at heart.
  • It is run by one of the oldest, largest, and most respected companies in the business.
  • And the books and articles I've read all agree that my investment portfolio is balanced and diversified, just as it ought to be.

In short, my retirement plan has everything going for it . . .

Everything except this: it's not making that much in the way of money.

Okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration (but not much) -- my retirement plan's actually done pretty good this quarter (though there have been months I would have been better off putting my money in a mason jar and burying it in the back yard).

Still, you see my point: no matter what else it may have going for it, a retirement plan is no good unless it delivers the goods.

Likewise, the spiritual life you're living just now -- the church you attend, the devotions you practice, the prayers you make ever day -- it may have a lot going for it: good intentions, the respect of your community, and even a theology that is balanced and correct . . .

But it still needs to deliver the goods -- goods such as love, joy, patience, peace, and self-control.

You know, "the fruits of the spirit."

For just like my retirement plan, every life is an experiment -- an attempt to find the best way of getting the results desired. And every lifestyle stands or falls on its ability to deliver those results.

So take some time this week to review the "spiritual investments" you've made. See what kind of results you're getting. Find out how the experiment's been going so far.

If you're happy with the way things have been turning out, then well and good.

And if you're not . . . well, I know that change comes hard. But it's something you may want to consider.

With interest.

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