I have been spending a lot of time in the book of Jeremiah lately. In chapter 32, Jeremiah is offered quite the real estate investment and the broker is none other than God himself. One of Jeremiah’s relatives had apparently mortgaged a piece of property and Jeremiah was first in line to redeem it. Normally, this would involve a permanent shift of possession to Jeremiah and his heirs, but because Jeremiah was single and childless, he would only own the land until his death and then it would again revert back to the original owner. On top of everything else, the property was infested with Babylonians (not a big selling point in those days). The city of Jerusalem was under siege by the greatest superpower of that day.
Why purchase property that was under the control of an invading army?
It even seems that Jeremiah paid full price (with interest) at a time when his money could have been more useful in meeting his day to day needs (like purchasing food when the city was starving). On the surface, this was not a good deal for Jeremiah. So why did Jeremiah take God up on his offer?
A big part of the answer is that Jeremiah was in the habit of obeying God. Once he concluded that the offer really was from God, he called his bank and started the process of finalizing the deal (vs. 8-11). But in this case, God decides to explain to Jeremiah why this deal was so good.
The first clue is that God tells Jeremiah to put the deeds in an earthenware jar so they will be preserved for “a long time” (14). This means that the payoff was not going to be any time soon, but there would be a payoff. As for the Babylonian infestation, that would not be forever. One day they would be gone and “houses and fields and vineyards would again be bought in this land” (vs. 15), i.e. the land would be productive and profitable. To those who questioned whether that would ever happen God declares, “I am the Lord; the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for me?” (27), and Jeremiah agrees, “Nothing is too difficult for the Lord. “(17).
In our instant society this still seems like a weak investment. Today anyone can invest online and immediately track the profit or loss on their investments. Who wants to wait years to see any return? And yet, this is how God’s investment brokerage often works.
Invest now and the return comes later, sometimes much later. Many times church leaders labor for years without any apparent results. Ministry to those who cannot give us anything in return seems a waste of our resources. And yet, in God’s economy our investments are booming. He promises that if we wait long enough, we will see it.
So what long term investment opportunities is God giving you?
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