For those who may not know, I'm a news junkie. I try to keep up with what's happening locally, nationally, and globally; I even check what's going on in places I've lived before. I also try to follow everything dealing with BYU sports (which includes former BYU athletes that play on professional teams now). One of the things I keep track of is the stock market (although it's just as a curiosity-I'm not an investor per se). It's fascinating to watch how stock prices fluctuate, and to look into all the different variables that affect the price. I think it's safe to say that the major factor that determines a stock price is the expected return on that investment.
Just about everything we do in this life is because we expect some type of result-or return on our investment if you will. We go to school because we expect education. We go to work because we expect to get paid. We buy groceries because we expect to eat. We exercise because we expect to stay/get in shape. We listen to music because we expect to be entertained, or uplifted, or distracted. We are kind because we expect to feel good about ourselves. We yell at our kids because we expect them to pay more attention to us. We drive over the speed limit and risk a ticket because we are in a hurry to get somewhere. We go to church to be spiritually fed (or maybe to get a nap if you're a high priest). We avoid breaking laws because we expect that will keep us out of prison. Sometimes we get the return we expected, sometimes we get more, and sometimes we get less-such is mortal life.
Another factor to consider is something called "marginal returns" by economists. This is basically describing the additional benefits you get with additional investment. Generally, these additional benefits tend to decrease over time-this is described as "diminishing marginal returns" or sometimes just "diminishing returns".
Anyway, enough with the basic economics lesson-there is a point that I'd like to make. The first one has to do with dating. Or more specifically courtship. Or even more specifically my courtship. I first met my wife in January in the men's locker room in the Richards Building at BYU. Yep, that's correct-the men's locker room. You're probably mentally giving my wife the same look that President Bateman gave her when we told him that too. But there's a good explanation for how we met, and it's this: we were both working with the late night custodial crew-I was cleaning the locker room and she was with a group cleaning all the restrooms in the building. (Yea, not so
We were both working as custodians, first on the 11pm-3am shift during the winter semester, then the 11pm-7am shift during the spring and summer terms. We started dating sometime in March, then got more serious in April/May, got engaged in August and married in December. It had been my experience up to that point that as you spent more time with someone, eventually you'd get to a point where you got a little tired of them-diminishing marginal returns if you will. But what I found with Tabitha was that the more time I spent with her (and we were spending at least 40 hours a week working together, plus the time we spent actually going out on dates), the more time I wanted to spend with her. There were absolutely no diminishing returns-the more time I invested in our relationship, the more I got out of it. And that has continued now for almost 18 years, and I
So for those young people (or not so young) that are searching for their future husband/wife, here's some advice:
- If someone still looks attractive to you after 8 hours of cleaning toilets, shower drains, locker rooms, and gyms, then there might be something there
- If you're dating someone and you're not experiencing and diminishing returns, then there might be something there
Of course, there is a place for wise investments, but generally temporal investments are at the mercy of forces beyond our control—the death or defection of a key executive or salesman, the patenting of a new invention that replaces our company’s product, the sudden change in the price of oil, the unexpected shift in interest rates, the fraud or embezzlement of a trusted partner, or the precipitous fall of the stock market.
Or, as the Savior taught in Matthew 6:19-20With this much uncertainty in investing, why even talk about it? True, earthly investments do not last, even when they are successful for a time. But I want to talk about another kind of investment. This investment has no risk whatsoever, and it pays handsome returns on a continuing basis. I speak of investment of time, of spiritual investments—investments in character, obedience, service, kindness.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.Elder Groberg finished his article by saying:
In all situations and at all times, the best investment we can make will be to do what we know is right and to follow the promptings of the Spirit. My brothers and sisters, let’s make wise investments! Let’s serve willingly. Let’s forgive readily. Let’s be kind, consistently. God will help us. We can eliminate anger from our lives. We can substitute love. We can develop love in our hearts. We can be kind to one another.So by investing time, service, kindness, love, and charity as we follow Christ we get the return of immortality and eternal life? Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.