A few days ago I posted a list of the five capitals, and in a book I co-write with Mike Breen, we talk a lot about how to invest in these capitals to see a return. But today I want to talk why we are seeking to invest and grow our capital in all five areas.
Investing for a return in the five capitals isn’t some kind of private enrichment program—it’s how we participate with God in what he’s doing in the world. The true wealth we are growing is not just for ourselves; it’s to be shared. There’s a word for this: commonwealth, which essentially means the wealth that is held in common with others in the community. We need to reclaim this word.
A family on mission that is growing in its common capital can’t help but be an attractive community that shows the world something about the future toward which God is pulling us.
Jesus shows us that God is doing is moving us steadily toward his ultimate goal, which is described in the last book of the Bible, Revelation:
Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Revelation 21:3-4).
This is a description of the maximum abundance of every capital.
- Spiritual—God dwelling among his people, and his people knowing him completely and cooperating with him fully.
- Relational—No more war or conflict between people; instead, perfect relational harmony and peace.
- Physical—No more death or sickness; instead, perfect health for our bodies and environment.
- Intellectual—Creativity and ideas abound. (You didn’t think heaven would be boring, did you?)
- Financial—No more poverty or lack of any kind, but abundance of everything needed for a full life.
This is God’s goal, for everyone to share in an abundance of spiritual capital, which causes flourishing in all the other areas of capital. God’s heart is for the holistic flourishing of his creation in all five areas of capital.
When you ask people what they think heaven is like, nobody ever says, “It’s a poverty-stricken place where everyone is sick and living alone with no friends.” Nor is that the picture the Bible paints! The biblical vision of heaven is of a place where all five capitals are maxed out in abundance! If that is our eternal inheritance, and we have an opportunity to grow into it now, why wouldn’t we do it?
The truth is that Jesus didn’t teach us to just sit around and wait for it—he taught us to actively pursue it now. He taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to come (here), for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (now). The flourishing of heaven is meant to touch our lives and our neighborhoods today!
The way that God achieves this goal is, remarkably, through his people. God has invested in us, and like the master in the parable of the talents, he is looking for a return on that investment, desiring that it will bear fruit and grow and be invested in others for the flourishing of all humanity. The return God gets on his investment is that more and more people come to know him and begin to function as humans were meant to function, prospering in all of the five capitals and investing in others so they too can prosper in the five capitals. God’s heart from the very beginning has been the blessing of all people, the flourishing of humanity.
How do we learn to do this? We become disciples of Jesus, the best economist and investment strategist the world has ever known. He is the one who guides us into living out our purpose. His call isn’t for us to just grow our own capital. Your personal prosperity is not the point. The point is growing what you have so you can invest it into others and see a return, as you participate in the mission of God.
As disciples of Jesus, we learn to live like Jesus and invest like Jesus. How do we make disciples?We invest everything we have in all five capitals into others. Making disciples means investing everything we have—all five capitals—into those we are discipling. It’s a call to lay it all down, to invest everything, on behalf of those we are investing in, trusting that when they win, we win, and when people win, God wins. We grow our capital to invest our capital for others, which causes our capital to continue to grow.
P.S. you can order the book here if you’d like.