Everyone would like to know the future. I mean if you knew which stocks were going to rise tremendously you could buy to your heart’s content. Likewise, if you knew which ones were going to fall in price, you could bail out and sell them before they took a nose dive.

I saw a movie back almost 40 years ago or so entitled, “The Final Countdown”. This is not going to be a movie review, but a portion of that movie helps me make clear what I want to talk about in this column. The movie was about an aircraft carrier, the Nimitz, and what happened when it went through a storm at sea. As it emerged from the storm on the other side, it had been transported through time to a day or so prior to the beginning of World War II with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In the movie a man and a woman who had been on that carrier were left behind in that time period, as the ship went back through another storm to its future time. When the aircraft carrier reached port in Pearl Harbor, a man and woman that had been left behind while it was in the year 1941, were there to meet it… much older and much richer… for you see, they’d had an advanced knowledge of what was going to happen in the world in the future and more importantly, when. All they had to do was sit back and invest wisely with their knowledge.

What would you give for an opportunity like that? Impossible you say? No, not really. There are some things that you can invest time and effort in now, in the present, and reap huge benefits from them in the future. They are called long term investments. Most of us are interested in short term investments. Now before you get excited and call in the appropriate officials to arrest me for giving out financial advice without a license, let me explain.

For you see I am not talking about finance, though some good examples from that area are applicable. For example, we have many farmers here in Georgetown County. They plant many varieties of crops, whether it be beans or corn or some other crop. That is a short term investment. Then there are those land owners and farmers who plant pine trees. You don’t plant a pine tree in the spring and harvest them in the fall of the same year. It may be twenty years or longer. That is a long term investment.

There are a couple of items in our lives that are more important than these types of investments and their benefits are worth much more. Your marriage is one, and your children are another. Both of them represent a major long term investment for you. You may see some short term gains, but most of the benefits come over the years.

So love your spouse today. Love your children today. As you do that you are investing in the future when your love will be returned to you a hundred fold. All of the family memories will be stored up. Grandchildren will begin to arise and if time flows softly upon our lives even great grandchildren. It is what we do today as an investment into the lives around us that will allow an out flow into our lives in later years. None of us have a guarantee of tomorrow, but we each should definitely sow into our tomorrows as if we definitely will be there to enjoy them. Not to do that is probably the worst thing you could do with your life today.

Through the years I have met both grown children and parents of grown children who regretted the fact that things were done so wrongly in previous years which in effect ensured that there would be no joy in either of their futures as to a relationship with each other. On the other hand I have had the great joy of helping to instigate a beginning of healing to relationships that had gone badly years before between parents and their children. If you are in a bad relationship with your children or your parents, wait no longer to begin making it right. Go and apologize. Don’t worry about who was right or wrong. Just tell them you love them. Time marches on. One day they will be gone and you will not have the opportunity to make it right any longer. Many have regretted allowing that to happen. Take action while you still have time to right the wrong. Love can heal all wrongs,

Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” 28 “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” 29 “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—” 30 “for we are members of his body.”

Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

We have a responsibility to invest wisely in our marriage and our children. If your children are grown and now have children of their own, take the time to invest in your family today. The benefits are without number. Happiness is the ultimate payoff, as well as a deep contentment in having those around you who you love, knowing that they love you in return. Love is indeed the greatest dividend to life’s greatest investment, our families.

Brad Morris, a retired minister, originally from Georgetown, served as a pastor and then as a missionary in Costa Rica and Ecuador, can be reached at cbrad7777@gmail.com. He has been in ministry for 50 years and a columnist for 17 years, 12 of which have been for the Times.