Friday, November 10, 2006

Should Christians Invest?

Apparently, the American mutual fund industry has reached the 10 Trillion dollar mark in investments. This caused me to ponder the validity of this option for believers in Jesus Christ.

What? Are you crazy, now you are talking nonsense...am I? You are probably thinking right now, "What exactly is wrong with investing in mutual funds, stock markets, or your 401K retirement fund?

Well if we look at this from a simple economics perspective, probably nothing. But as saints of the most High God, we should not live our lives fashioned after the wisdom of this world. I want to give you some food for thought concerning our roles as "Stewards" of God's resources.

First of all, we have a clear commandment from scripture to "not lay up treasure on earth, where moth and rust decay and thieves break in and steal." Even the most secure investments have been compromised by fraud, theft, and dishonesty.

Secondly, much of our investment betrays a lack of trust in God's provision for our daily bread. This does not mean we should give away every last penny, but we must consider why we are saving or storing up wealth.

Thirdly, and this one is more serious than we all think. Where exactly is this money going that we are investing? I am fairly certain that a large portion of it is being used to fund programs and projects that we as Christians would wholeheartedly disagree with. So in effect, the money God has entrusted us to use wisely is in fact being used to promote a humanistic worldview.

So, should we as Christians invest our money? I say emphatically yes, but with a caveat. Just as we will give an account for every word and deed, so too our time and money are sacred trusts. We must know where the funds are going and what the end use will be. Think of yourself as a banker who must wisely "loan" out his collateral. Consider the following scriptural means of "investing" our money.

1. Giving above and beyond our tithe to support missions, and specifically the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Giving to relief organizations is fine, but it must be coupled with the saving news of Christ's atoning work on the cross.

2. Helping out our brethren who are in desperate need.

3. Caring for widows and orphans in our community.

4. Supporting businesses run by Biblical principles even though it means paying a bit more.


These are just four ideas, I would love to hear yours.

Let us take seriously the command to "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."

Do you believe our God is faithful to meet ALL of our needs? If so, begin to live like it, not putting your trust in your bank account, 401k, or any other earthy means of self sufficiency. Do not worry about tomorrow or tomorrow's needs, let us pray for today's bread seeing how we can be a blessing to others. It is truly more blessed to give than to hoard.

17 comments:

Askinstoo said...
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Jim said...
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Blaurock said...

You're right Jim. Our citizenship is in heaven from which we eagerly await a Saviour. Money is a bottom line test of true perspective and faith. There is too much to say concerning the lack of faith directed money. I've heard a pastor tell his wealthy congregation the following,"Tithe, pay your bills,and do whatever you want with the rest!" He didn't neglect to put "tithe" first, even though he puts an Old Covenant law onto New Covenant believers. He'd just finished telling us all how he eats out more than ever in his life, and is so happy with his salary. I purposed never to give a cent to that church. We gave to our neighbors instead. They never ate out, worked like animals to pay the bills, and lived in squalor. My ministry partner has elders who are multi-millionaires, and yet we are scraping euros together in order to buy Bibles and tracts for the most unreached people in Europe. Priorities are hard things to change, especially in finances.
It was one couple who gave their whole income tax return which allowed me to survey the place we now work. Another couple gave a huge chunk of their home sale profits which gave us our travel and start up costs (over 20,000).
Two couples with faith and insight into real reality have opened up a dark region to the gospel. Others have joined them, and were challenged by their hearts. What honor they deserve, and what an honor they have.

Bhedr said...

Thanks for this article Jim. Yes so many like Joseph are scrapping like the aposlte Paul who was called a scrap picker by the Greeks when they were wondering who he was. May we live each day as though there was no tomorrow. It seems America wants to turn their property over to the government as well so one day a dictator might just come in and seize all of there 401ks. Who knows. The only peace of mind we can have is Peace *with* God when we got saved and now we should entrust our whole selves unto God in seeking Him first so that we have the Peace *of* God ruling our hearts which no man or government can seize.

Bhedr said...

excuse me as though there *is* no tomorrow.

jazzycat said...

Jim,
Good thoughts. There are many things other than investing where we help promote things we disagree with. Going to Disney World, purchasing almost anything, etc. all helps fund Godless causes. It is a problem and causes me a measure of displeasure everytime I buy anything.

W.H.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Is it right to take out a pension, Jim?

Jim said...

Joseph, how right you are concerning the sad state of the western church. While much is being given, little of it actually reaches the most needy areas.

You are also correct that money is the ultimate litmus test of our faith in the Lord's provision.

May God continue to show you greater insights in His word, and by His grace may you serve Him faithfully.

Jim said...

Brian, consider a government that is hostile to the gospel; nothing would be beyond their grasp in stamping out the gospel.

Jim said...

Jazzy,

It is true that most of what we touch in this world in stained by sin and the evil one, however there are obvious things that we can avoid while seeking to redeem the things that God has ordained for our sustenance.

Perhaps this is why He said with food and clothing be content.

Jim said...

Matthew, how so do you mean? In Canada, a person automatically receives a pension at the age of 65 or so.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

If the system in Canada is the same as over here, the state pension must be low.

Does nobody take out private pension plans in Canada?

Jim said...

Matthew, some companies provide extra retirement benefits. However, most people have their own savings programs called a 401K in the US and RRSP in Canada.

I guess my point was that these investments are often used for nefarious purposes, and there is great assumptions that the interest rates will be as stated, and in fact that the money will be there upon retirement.

I don't think scripture would negate this notion but I do think we must realize what motivates us to store up in this way, and who is actually making use of our funds.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

The Bible was written before the development of the capitalist system. We need to be careful about how we apply insructions from a pre-capitalist society in a capitalist world.

Jim said...

Matthew, that doesn't really make sense? The Bible gives us the handbook for a "truly" capitalistic model. Unfortunately greed and selfishness have corrupted it to what we see today.

I don't think the Bible is necessarily a dated book as the Word of God is living and therefore ever relevant to our changing situations.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Capitalism did not exist in its true form until the 18th century. It is not simply buying and selling for profit, but an organised system of rational investment of capital.

In Bible times, there would have been limited potential for investment of capital. Most businesses would be family-owned with no investment by outside intestests.

Out whole economic system operates at a level of complexity that is unknown to the Biblical writers.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Jim said...

Matthew, I guess perhaps then my point is the logic behind these "rational" investents.

Certainly God was not unaware of our complexities, and yet His principles are the same today as they were back then.

I think much of today's stock holdings and investments would violate the principle of being unequally yoked, which is an OT and NT teaching.