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Have I got a deal for you

I don’t want to paint the wrong picture. There was no back alley, no darkened corner like a film noir set, no mysterious yet shady guy looking furtive, “Psst, hey buddy, have I got a deal for you.”

No, this was a person I trust who only had my best interests in mind. That is why I did a double-take when he told me I should think about investing in the Iraqi Dinar.

Now, I am an ignorant guy when it comes to “investments.” Our idea of investment is buying three gallons of milk at the same time or filling up our large vehicle (which shall remain nameless. Suffice it to say it is sometimes known as the “Cadillac of Texas”).

So, first of all, I had to make sure my friend wasn’t messing with me, having a little fun at my expense, like the time my cousin, Scary Larry, wanted to take me snipe hunting. After I ascertained he was serious, that there is actually something called the Iraqi Dinar — it is currency — then I got caught in the idea of investing a little cash.

“Why not?” I thought. “Maybe it’s different than buying lottery tickets, buying land in Florida, or playing what we considered to be the mother of dream-makers, The Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes!”

For this move, I needed expert advice.

My friend, Morris, works in a big-city, heavy-hitting investment firm in Memphis, Tenn. For 25 years now, he has been advising oil barons and other tycoons of industry. I knew he would give me sound advice about my soon-to-be “diversified portfolio” (is that a real thing?).

I told him my story.

“I bet I could get my hands on $1,000,” I whispered over the phone. “What do you think about the Iraqi Dinar?”

“Why are you whispering?” he asked.

And then he said something that twisted my mind. Please keep in mind that this is a guy that eats and breathes investments, portfolios, stocks, bonds and the like all week long. He is financially secure and believes in taking care of his family. In fact, his next words told me family was what he had on his mind.

“I tell you what, Mark, if you have an extra thousand dollars lying around, do this: Invest it in your family. Use it to take them on another mission trip to Mexico. That investment will give you returns the rest of your life.”

I had a paradigm shift. My thinking about security, money and family took a bend in the road in my brain.

This is how Jesus said it, “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or — worse! — stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars.” (Matthew 6: 19-20)

So, here’s the deal: Morris wasn’t suggesting that monetary investments aren’t a good idea. After all, that is his bread and butter. He was suggesting something else. Financial security is not our raison d’être, but family, particularly in the context of serving God and pleasing Him, can be. This simple, yet profound principle is always in action: what you focus on gets bigger.

Am I focused on a stockpile or am I focused on what truly gives meaning: my relationship with my creator, and those He has entrusted to me?

“Psst, hey buddy, have I got a deal for you.”

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