Bible Finance

Manage Your Money God's Way

Investing—Keep a Balanced Perspective

We are bombarded with information on investments. Every day hundreds of individuals give their opinion as to where you should invest your money. It is easy to spend excessive amounts of time and energy on investing. This is not God’s will: “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Proverbs 23:4, 5).

 

It is appropriate for a Christian to spend time learning and applying God’s investment principles, but once this has been accomplished, we should take a long-term perspective and trust God for the results. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6 nkjv)

 

I review the portfolio that God has entrusted to me about four times per year. I ignore what is happening in the markets and in the media on a daily and weekly because excessive time and energy is required in order to absorb the mammoth amount of information that is available.

 

During these “quarterly reviews,” I spend several hours with the Lord, seeking God’s wisdom (James 1:5) and God’s direction for my life, which God has promised to provide (Psalm 32:8). Since no individual can consistently predict the direction of the markets or any investment (James 4:13–15), I purposely listen for God’s “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12), because I realize that only God knows the future and God is in control (1 Chronicles 29:11, 12).

 

During this time with the Lord, I meditate on scripture verses that deal with investment principles to ensure that I have developed a biblically based investment strategy. I review the portfolio and make adjustments according to God’s investment principles and God’s specific direction for me.

 

I wait patiently for the Lord (Psalm 37:7) to provide his specific direction, and when I sense I’ve heard it, I pray and ask God to confirm it. Once it is clarified, in faith, I implement God’s plan for my investments. At all times, I ensure that the plan is within God’s investment principles, because I know that God would not provide any directive that is contrary to his Word.

 

If you “connect with the Lord” (John 15) on a regular basis and follow his wisdom and his direction, then you will have fulfilled your stewardship responsibility and you can leave the results (the return on your investments) to God. God has promised that he will meet your needs (Matthew 6:31–33). God instructs us not to worry (Luke 12:22–31) and not to be fearful (Isaiah 41:10), but rather trust him and be content with his provision. “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For  we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:6–8)

 

Be sure to give God “the first fruits” (Proverbs 3:9) of your profits, as this demonstrates your faith and commitment to him. God promises that he will bless the generous giver: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). Giving generously is the best way I know of to avoid hoarding and to deal with any potential greediness (Luke 12:15).

 

In summary, it is appropriate to spend a reasonable amount of time learning and implementing God’s investment principles as well as seeking God’s specific direction for your life. However, it is not God’s will for you to spend excessive amounts of time and energy on investing.

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December 29, 2008 Posted by | Investing | , , , , | 1 Comment

Investing—Giving to God’s Work Produces Eternal Benefits

Giving to God’s work is an investment with eternal rewards for both the giver and the beneficiaries of the gift. In regard to the giver, Jesus said: “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done” (Matthew 16:27). There are also eternal benefits for the recipients of the gift. For example, when you give money to an evangelical organization (including your church), and through that organization someone accepts Jesus Christ as personal saviour, then that individual will be in heaven for eternity.

 

Although investing to provide for future family needs is something that God wants us to do (1 Timothy 5:8), giving to God’s work is even more important, as it stores up “treasures in heaven.” Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19, 20).

 

It is easy to become focused on building your portfolio. However, investments are temporary: “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Timothy 6:7). As God blesses your investments, avoid hoarding. Jesus warned, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

 

I recommend that at least two times per year, you obtain an update of the fair market value of your investments, and ensure that you are giving at least 10 percent of the increased value of those investments to God’s work, in addition to any giving of your regular personal income. Remember, the tithe is the smallest percentage mentioned anywhere in scripture, and the emphasis in God’s Word is to give generously. (See Luke 6:38 and Matthew 13:44–46). Note that when Zacchaeus became a believer, he gave 50 percent of his assets in demonstration of his thankfulness for salvation in Christ (Luke 19:8).

 

God instructs us to give him “the first fruits.” Proverbs 3:9 states, “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” When we make giving to God’s work a priority, God has promised that he will bless us financially.

 

If you make giving to God’s work a priority, God has promised that he will entrust you with even more money (2 Corinthians 9:6). Why? So you can spend it on yourself or hoard it? No, God’s purpose for entrusting you with more money, is that you can give even more to his work!

Now [God] who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10–11, emphasis added)

Jesus promised that if we sacrifice now, the return on our investment (as a result of giving to God’s work) will be a hundredfold in eternity! “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19: 29, emphasis added) Remember, there is absolutely no earthly investment that provides a hundredfold return and is guaranteed by God!

 

In summary, although it is important to save and invest to provide for future family needs, always make investing in God’s work a priority, as it will produce eternal benefits!

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Investing | , , , , , | 1 Comment