A Pepper Grinder Post

The Best Investment

One of the things I like to do on my commute to and from work, is to listen to audio books.  Currently, I am listening to a book called Boomerang, by Michael Lewis.  Lewis wrote another very interesting book called The Big Short, in which he talked about the collapse of sub-prime mortgages, and the people who made a huge amount of money because they had foreseen the collapse.  He starts out Boomerang by talking about one of these people, who is now focused on the coming financial collapse of many debt-ridden countries.

As I listened, I felt myself having an emotional desire to pull my modest nest egg out of the mundane investments it is currently in, and put it all into investments that will profit when countries start defaulting on their debts.  Or maybe I should put some into gold, too.  I wanted to be one of those people who made a fortune by seeing things other people don’t see.  Then it suddenly struck me that this is what I and everyone who has chosen to follow Jesus wholeheartedly has already done.

Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 13:44 (my translation):

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man hides after finding it, and in his joy, goes and sells everything he has, and buys that field.

treasureTo grasp what Jesus is saying here, it is crucial to understand that he is not talking about someone who has decided to be really good.  This is not a parable about a man who sells all he has and joins a monastery.  This is a story about a guy who got all the numbers right on Powerball after the jackpot got really BIG.

What struck me when I was just studying this verse was not so much what the man did, but HOW he did it.  He did it in joy!  He was ecstatic.  He was beside himself.

I was telling my brother recently about the time when I became a Christian.  When I think back on it, what strikes me is how excited I was.  I had hit the jackpot, and I knew it.  I had found the real deal.  I wasn’t reading the Bible every day because it was what good people did—I WANTED to do it.

It makes me a little sad to compare myself now to that person then.  On the one hand, it is true that God brings us through sufferings (large or small) to deepen us and make us wiser.  It is true that even Jesus himself was not always bouncing around like an excited puppy.  But, I cannot escape the feeling that, to some extent,  I have substituted duty for joy.  Duty certainly has its place, but Jesus, like my wife, doesn’t want to be loved out of duty.

As I write this, I’m asking God to restore that joyful sense that I have struck it rich.  By God’s grace, I saw what many others did not and put my money in the right place.  I have made the one investment that is guaranteed to pay off, and pay off big.  It will pay off if the Euro fails.  It will pay off if the U.S. defaults on its debts or goes into hyper-inflation.  It will pay off if I die friendless and penniless and my body is dragged through the streets by people who hate me and mock me.  I have found a treasure!  Hallelujah!


*Treasure photo from