Spend vs. Invest

Spending or Investing. We all understand that concept when its applied to money. You “spend” money by going out to eat. You “invest” money when you buy a house or give to charity. The acts are similar – money is leaving your bank account. However, the intent and the outcomes are quite different. When you spend money you aren’t getting anything substantial in return. Sure, eating at a restaurant provides you with a meal but a few hours later you’ll need to eat again. There’s no long-term benefit when money is spent.

On the other hand, when you invest money you expect great and lasting benefit either for yourself or for others. By investing in a charity, for example, you understand that the money you give will be used to greatly impact the lives of others with lasting (maybe even life-long) benefits for that person. Or, when you invest in your retirement account you’re setting aside money that will one day sustain your life or your family.

You get the idea – investing has long lasting benefits, spending has only temporary benefits. But what if the idea of spending vs. investing is applied to something other than money? What if we looked at our time as a commodity that can either be spent or invested?

You spend time watching TV or reading a book. You spend time cleaning the house or mowing the yard. You spend time shopping or daydreaming or surfing the web. Are these things necessary? Yes, sometimes. But we should be aware that these things are not the MOST important. Washing laundry is necessary, for sure. But it doesn’t have significant, long-term benefits.

Investing your time in playing with your children or in listening to a friend or in date night with your spouse – those things are the most important. Investing time in people, investing time sharing the love of Jesus with those that don’t know Him, investing time volunteering for your church all have long-term impact. Significant, long-term impact.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t mow your yard. I’m just saying we should be more mindful of where our time goes. Do we spend the majority of our time or invest it in things that really matter?  I personally spend a lot more than I should. And, I don’t invest nearly enough. I want to change that. I want to make a conscious effort to be a good steward of the time I’ve been given.


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