God has invested in us, and he expects a return on his investment. Which begs the questions:
in what ways has God invested in us?
how do we put that investment to work in such a way as to earn a return for him on his investment?
There are, essentially, five types of capital – spiritual, relational, physical, intellectual, and financial - and if we want to grow any one of them, we do so by investing the others.
Here is another personal example, to illustrate how this might work in practice:
Having moved to inner-city Liverpool, I want to see the kingdom of heaven extended in the community where I live...
We cannot do that on our own, but need to invest in relationships with others – specifically with those who sense a call to the same immediate neighbourhood...
I have observed that several of the men I probably need to invest in relationally are keen cyclists; and going cycling together would seem an obvious way to see those relationships grow. As it happens, one of them has lent me a spare bike (which is in itself an example of investing physical capital in hope of a return in relational capital). I have not ridden a bike in years, and so it will require an investment of physical capital to get fit enough to ride with cyclists – but that in itself ought to result in an increase in the physical capital available to me as I get fitter, and that in turn will enable me to invest more in the kingdom...
It will also require an investment of intellectual capital. For example, I have made enquiries about cycling in Liverpool, been directed to relevant sites online, got hold of maps of on- and off-road routes. And I will need to learn some basic bike-care skills, too...
Finally, it will involve financial capital. Having been lent a bike, my initial financial investment is a helmet, but, if I get on with riding then a point will come where I need to buy my own bike.
[As it happens, in this case I have the financial capital to buy a bike. But, if I did not have the necessary financial capital, and believed that I needed a bike in order to invest what God had given me, then I could invest spiritual capital, praying in faith for the provision of a bike; relational capital, discovering who could find or lend me a bike; or physical capital, working to earn the financial capital to buy a bike. The principle of the parable of the shrewd manager is:
invest what you have in order to grow what you need.]
The question is: if I want to see a return on the spiritual capital I invest for God’s glory in this part of Liverpool, am I prepared to employ the other forms of capital at my disposal to see it happen?