What does it mean to earn returns? To earn returns means to gain or receive profit on a committed capital (an investment). Usually, the capital and the gains earned belong to the individual who provided the capital.
Although whatever we own belongs to God (we are simply stewards- Ps 24:1); we can legally earn returns on it for ourselves. You might ask, “How in the world can anyone gain returns on what belongs to another person?” Well, in God’s economy it is very simple. Spend God’s money and resources wisely and generously; don’t be stingy, and the returns will pile up for you in heaven (Lk 18:22). What a brilliant idea!
Paul says to the young preacher, Timothy, “Command them (the rich) to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasures for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Tim 6:18-19).
In the parable of the Shrewd Manager (Lk 16:1-9), the manager was illegally using his boss’ money; defrauding him, with the hope of personal gains in the future, but in our case as Christians, we have God’s permission to use all that He has entrusted to us, for His glory, and for our benefit (Mt 6:19-20).
So what are you doing with what God has entrusted to you? Are you holding on to it, tightly? Remember, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor 9:6). So let it go, it is not yours anyway; allow it to work for your future! Are you asking, “How”? Meet the needs you see around you, give to God’s work, and Jesus’ response to you will be, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Mt 25:35-36).
If we don’t invest what God has entrusted to us now, we cannot hope for any future returns. If you’d like to hear God say to you, “Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness” (Mt 25:21), then this is your chance; start putting God’s resources to work.