Biblical investing too often resides in a nebulous area of the human brain commonly described as the
“I’ll get to it later” region. And if investing by the Bible sounds like a good idea but you simply haven’t found the time to implement it yet, welcome to the club. However, in the interest of giving you a quick primer on the topic, here are the high points of biblical investing, as we see it anyway.
Acknowledge God’s Ownership
Perhaps the first order of business when it comes to Christian investing is to establish ownership of your wealth. It’s yours, right? Wrong! Anything you have actually belongs to God. This might seem like a strange thing to obsess on since you’re the one who has to earn it, track it, and spend it. It’s critical that you acknowledge God’s ownership of all your possessions before you get down to the nitty gritty of actual investing. This isn’t just a pointless exercise either. To truly invest using Bible-guided strategies requires that you not get hung up on selfishly claiming it’s all yours. Once you give it to God, where it belongs, you’ll likely find your wealth begins to increase exponentially, since you’re not clinging onto it quite so tightly.
Advancing the Kingdom
Every action you undertake as a student of the Bible on this planet should be done with the purpose in mind of advancing God’s kingdom. This is an idea you should embrace wholeheartedly. Face it, as somewhat weak and oblivious humans, we may have no idea what God’s grand purpose for our lives or wealth actually is. Maybe he’ll tell us right away and maybe he won’t. This is not for us to fret over. Ephesians 2:10 lays it out plainly: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” When it comes to investing, learning various strategies and skills should never be an end unto themselves, but rather tools that give you the best chance to expand the kingdom.
Financial Fitness Comes First
Before you even think about diving into the world of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, commodities, or currency, you need to evaluate your financial fitness first. Not only does being “in shape” financially show you have the obedient spirit necessary to take on the challenge, it proves your allegiance to God is affixed on a solid foundation. What are we even talking about? There are two financial areas in the lives of many people that need to be addressed before investing takes place.
1.Eliminate your debt
2.Save for the future
The problem with debt is that you cannot serve God with all your heart when you are forced to serve creditors too. The Bible is replete with examples of God’s desire that you live a debt-free lifestyle. Until all debt is paid off, you should target your efforts towards that end. The second area of financial fitness is saving for the future, often called a contingency plan. If life on earth teaches us nothing else, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. Murphy’s Law is in full effect at all times. Different people have different ideas about how much counts as enough. The advice of Christian-based investment consultant and national talk radio host Dave Ramsey is to put back six months of living expenses where you can access it quickly in case of an emergency. This means cash, a savings account, or money market fund. Your definition of this might differ but the point is you must be prepared for emergencies before any money is diverted for investing. This way a job loss, medical emergency, or car wreck won’t derail your entire life.
Invest the Surplus
Once you’ve taken care of outstanding debt and saved for the future, you’re ready to begin investing with surplus money. Notice we said SURPLUS money! The bottom line is this. If you can’t afford to lose it, don’t invest it. Markets fluctuate, sometimes wildly, and it is the height of irresponsibility to gamble with resources needed for daily expenses. By investing surplus funds only, you guarantee that every dollar is spent in direct pursuit of the advancement of God’s kingdom. Buying stocks or any other type of investment asset introduces the idea of financial risk into your life for the first time.
Biblical investing is not a one-size-fits-all scenario and each person must find their own balance between safety and risk. Say you’ve had to dip into your contingency account a bit and find yourself with only three months expenses saved. Does this mean you’re required to stop all investing activity until it’s back up to full strength? Maybe. Your call. The main point to understand is that continuing to invest without a FULLY stocked emergency fund is not as safe as the alternative.
Good luck out there!
The Solomon Success Team
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