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The true power of Compounded Returns (June 2019 Newsletter Article)

Somebody told me once, half in jest, that while the big houses are in MCCUTCHANVILLE the real money is in DARMSTADT. Now like I say, there was an element of jesting in what they were saying. No doubt there are people in Darmstadt who are overextended when it comes to their lifestyle and there are people in McCutchanville who are savers. They were alluding, however, to the long-standing German heritage of Darmstadt with its culture of debt avoidance and frugal living. I found that this remains the culture in Germany today. While preparing for our trip to Germany we were told cash is king over there because Germans generally avoid debt.

There is an old word for living within one’s means and saving for the future, prudence. It is related to the word “wise”. It has to do with living in such a way that your actions lead to a better life. Now that my kids are grown and preparing for life on their own I’ve told them that if they begin saving now, investing while they’re young, they can have quite a nest egg for when they reach old age. Time is on their side. Just a little money saved, just a little effort on their part, will produce amazing results through the magic of compounding returns.

This magic of compounding returns isn’t magic at all. The Bible speaks over and over again about the power of planting seeds. It promises us that “seedtime and harvest” will remain as long as the earth remains (Genesis 8:22). Think about what this means. The farmer plants one seed which brings forth a plant with many more seeds. The result of planting is a harvest of that which is much greater, and this is God’s doing! God’s promise to Noah is that, though the thoughts of people’s hearts are full of evil (Genesis 8:21), he’ll continue to ensure that our world is a world full of great potential for human flourishing. God’s covenant with the world through Noah is a covenant revealing God’s grace.

It’s important to note that this principle applies to more than money and literal seeds planted in the ground. When Jesus spoke of “giving and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38) he was applying this principle to relationships. When we invest time and energy in truly caring for others we find our own lives expanded and enriched in the process.

Most important for Jesus is that we be “rich towards God” (Luke 12:21). Jesus said these words in a parable about a man now known as the rich fool. This man was prudent when it came to money, but he was foolish when it came to the things of God. Implied in this is the idea that “seedtime and harvest” (or compounding returns) applies to our relationship with God.

Turning to God regularly in prayer, reading the Bible, being active in church, these things feed and expand our faith. This faith grows exponentially. Just a little effort on our part will go a long way, and as we act on our faith, turning from the ways of death to the ways of life, we’ll experience the exponential change that is the new life in Christ. Such people, of course, die in the state of faith (they endure to the end), and their reward is great in heaven. Jesus said that’s where it’s really at, and why should we doubt him? Everything else he’s told us is true, and his resurrection vindicates his claim to be the one who shows us the Father. He is the revealer of ultimate reality.

I encourage you, Be prudent! Yes, save and be thrifty. Yes, give and it will be given you, but more than anything else, turn to God in faith and receive from him the grace he longs to give you every day.



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