Not too long ago, a company I often shop with awarded me “silver customer” status. When I received their notification, I was told that I now qualified for more discounts with them, and they appreciated what a “good customer” I had been.

It struck me as a little bit funny. They knew I had spent some too much money with them, and they knew that the discount would likely help encourage me to spend more. The “silver” designation implies that there is a higher status (gold, platinum) that I could attain, if only I keep shopping with them!

It’s a brilliant marketing move that many companies use to try to manipulate us into spending more money. I’m not a big fan of manipulation—but I do have a question for you: if Jesus were evaluating your dedication to His name, how would he describe you?

Crowds of people are spectators. They are interested in finding out what Jesus has to offer, but they’re more content in standing on the sidelines and watching. Spectators will likely come in late and leave early. They might sing—a little—and they might even smile, too. We all begin as spectators who look at Christianity and try to evaluate its merit.

Some people are consumers. They’re interested in what Jesus has to offer, what the church has to offer, what the community has to offer, and whatever anyone has to offer! They are active—in a consuming role. They’ll drop their kids off at every church activity. They’ll eat at every fellowship meal. They’ll be at every party—and probably even early! But you can count on one thing: they won’t be staying after to clean up. They reap without sowing.

A few are investors. They’re interested in being like Jesus. They’re active in serving. Freely they have received, so freely they give of their time, talent, and treasure. They clean up the building and take out the trash. They invest in people with encouraging words and time in prayer. They invest in their faith by studying the Word. They invest in the community by volunteering and teaching. Their work is hard, but nobody enjoys greater satisfaction, joy, or rewards, than an investor.

Which are you? If you’re new here, it’s okay to be a spectator for a little while. Test the water as a consumer—for a little while. And when you see that Jesus is good and his word is true—invest your heart and your life in his cause. Don’t be satisfied to watch and consume. Invest!