It’s that time of year again when we start making plans for improvement for a new year. In addition to the health-related goals people set at the beginning of a new year—lose weight, eat better, exercise—a lot of us also set financial goals: get out of debt, save money, give more. I’m no financial genius (the only smart financial move I’ve ever made was to marry an accountant), but I do want to talk about your ROI for 2023.

ROI. Return on investment. In the most remedial terms (which is the best my non-financial mind can do), ROI asks the question: Based on how much time and money you invested in this, how much profit did you make? If it costs you $100 to make something, but you can only sell it for $95, that’s a lousy return on investment. But if you can sell it for $300, that’s a good ROI.

Financial planners will encourage you to think of the ROI as you invest and save. The more you save, compound interest kicks in and your investment grows. Keep doing that year after year, and your investment grows exponentially. As I think about my own retirement savings, I am both glad and sad. I’m glad that we have saved and seen it grow exponentially. But I’m sad realizing that, had we started even a couple of years earlier, our return on investment would be significantly greater than it is.

I want you to consider your own ROI for 2023, but let’s move from financial thinking and just focus on life in general. The Bible doesn’t explicitly talk about ROI, but it does say:

  • “Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure —​pressed down, shaken together, and running over​— will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
  • “The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor. 9:6).
  • “For whatever a person sows he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

Do not equate this with karma. Karma is an impersonal notion that bad things happen to us when we’re bad, and good things happen to us when we’re good. The ultimate expression of that is reincarnation. None of this is biblical. On the contrary, Scripture shows us that, when we do good, God will use and multiply what we offer for His glory and for the sake of others.

Let me ask you to join me in investing in three areas this year.

  1. Invest in others and watch them grow as you encourage them, walk alongside them, help them where they need help, and serve them in ways only you can.
  2. Invest time in God’s Word and watch it grow in your heart. Do more than just commit to read the Bible through in a year. Spend time meditating on it … memorizing it … studying it in the company of others. God’s Word is powerful and effective. Spending time with God’s Word draws you into a deeper relationship with Him. What an incredible investment.
  3. Invest your money in the work of God’s kingdom. Give first and foremost through your local church. Through your giving, you partner with others in reaching people with the gospel locally, nationally, and around the world. An investment in God’s kingdom reaps results you will only fully know when you stand before God in His kingdom—and as you stand alongside those who were reached because of your generosity.

Go ahead with exercising and eating better but invest also in those things with eternal value.

“For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:8).

May God bless all you do for Him in 2023.

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