What makes Christian investing different from investing in general? Like many other investors of different faiths – or none at all – Christian investors buy stocks, bonds, precious metals and real estate. But even though these investing ventures all work the same way, they’re driven by very different perspectives. Unlike their secular counterparts, Christian investors are guided by the understanding that in all things they are stewards of God’s wealth, not their own..
“Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not in thy own prudence,” King Solomon tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6. “In all ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps.” For Christian investors, investing decisions aren’t driven by a wish to build wealth for wealth’s own sake – but for the glory of God. And that opens doors to many blessings, including wealth.
Christian investors recognize that God owns everything. As Psalms 24:1 puts it, “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” That means that even though we can speak of “my money,” “my house,’ or “my car,” that’s only a convention of speech. All those things, and everything else in our lives as well, come from God. They’re on loan for our benefit.
So it is with investing. When Christians make investing decisions, it’s not for their own benefit, but for the best use of God’s property. But that’s not all. Along with owning everything in the world, God is also sovereign over it – possessed of supreme power over everything in his domain.
The concept of God’s ownership and sovereignty over everything in the world guides every aspect of Christian investing. It requires care and effort, supported by prayer. And when Christians recognize that they’re investing for God, their investing efforts bear fruit.
If you were asked to make some investments for a friend, you’d do the best job you could to make sure that everything went well. So it is for Christian investors, who recognize that in all things, they act as God’s stewards on earth, charged with the best and most careful management of all that belongs to God.
With stewardship come responsibilities and obligations. Since Christian investors are charged with this duty, they must be proactive, educated and in control of their investing efforts. That means acquiring the knowledge needed to make prudent decisions that lead to good outcomes. There’s no delegating of responsibilities.
Doing justice to the charge of stewardship in investing involves having a clear plan and learning what’s necessary to get there – and to weed out the inevitable scammers, schemers and get rich quick promises that crop up along the way.
Christian investors are clear on the purpose of their investing decisions – to advance God’s interests, not their own. Setting goals according to God’s priorities clarifies goals and the steps needed to achieve them. Recognizing your obligation as God’s steward in investing leads you to invest for the highest good.
Christian investors know that in order to bee good stewards of God’s resources, they need to align other aspects of life with that purpose. Managing money prudently, getting good financial advice and cleaning up any financial missteps are all ways to be a better steward by getting financially fit.
Christian investors make their decisions with a sense of urgency as well as timelessness. Because no one knows what the future holds, it’s important to act now, rather than put things off. Procrastination isn’t in the job description of God’s stewards. That’s eloquently stated in John 9:4: “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”
Managing investments as a steward of God means initiating action, rather than waiting for someone else to take care of things, or lazily putting decisions off till tomorrow. Things may be very different then.
That sense of urgency means making your decisions from the perspective of “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today,” not jumping at promises of quick riches that require you to take action without a chance to think, or leap at a once in a lifetime “opportunity” that turns out to be a scam. Being a good steward of God’s resources calls for prudence, not recklessness. And investing from that perspective helps the Christian investor see through those empty promises and iffy propositions.
Realizing how important it is to act promptly is part of an outlook that also includes a very long view indeed. The investor who works hard to be a good steward for God’s possessions is also looking very far ahead – to eternal life in heaven. And that means a reckoning with God about the handling of that earthly stewardship. Christian investors make decisions today for the glory of God forever – and that keeps investing decisions focused and morally sound.
What about building wealth – the reason many people embark on an investing career in the first place? For the Christian investor, wealth is the gift of God and not an end in itself. And with faith that generous sowing means generous reaping, the Christian investor trusts that good decisions made with the guidance of the Lord will yield rewards not just here on earth but in heaven.
For Christian investors, the tools of investors everywhere take on a higher meaning. As Jason Hartman says, becoming educated and staying in control of the whole investing process creates a foundation for building wealth. And taking these and other steps for investing success as a steward of God builds the foundation for prosperity now and in the future. (Featured image:Flickr/rykneethling)
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The Solomon Success Team