Is it wrong or is it right for Christians to invest in the stock market?
We’re continuing from our previous Little Lesson’s question about investing in the stock market. This is something that is widely practiced because, at least from a natural standpoint, it certainly does make a lot of sense to save money for the future.
Now, I began to speak yesterday a little bit about the whole idea of saving. We have to question why we would be saving. You have to be saving for a legitimate reason. If you’re just piling up treasures on this earth so that you can just grow your wealth and enjoy more, that’s a questionable practice.
But, investing a portion of what you earn to guard against the future, and the eventualities of old age is extremely wise and could be considered again, as just an act of love towards the people that you love, so you’re not a burden upon them.
Saving to Start a Future Business
There are other valid reasons to save. You may be saving to start a future business in which you need some startup capital. Doesn’t it make more sense to save and earn interest and dividends then it does to borrow money and pay interest? That shows some self discipline, some prudence. And then when the time comes, you have enough money, some capital to start a business.
Because every business, generally speaking, needs some capital to start, even the smallest business. If you have a lemonade stand, you’ve got to have the water and the lemons and you’ve got to have a little table.
That being said, there are legitimate reasons to save for business. But again, if you’re not submitted to God, if you’re just trying to save money to start a business so you grow filthy rich and live a life of luxury, that’s wrong. That’s very, very wrong.
But if you’re trying to save so that you can start a business and support your family and help your kids get a start in life and take some of the earnings from your business and—as much as possible, if God blesses it and you work hard enough—that you could give a whole lot for the sake of Gods Kingdom. Well, that’s praiseworthy, that’s virtuous. So it all comes down to what’s really in your heart in this case.
Saving Purely to Give
You can also save purely to give, and that’s from the New Testament. I just pulled up a verse in the Bible from 1 Corinthians 16 where Paul is writing about a collection that he’s taking amongst all the churches for the very poor and struggling saints in Jerusalem:
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. – 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
So what he’s saying is, “I’m going to be coming by in a few months, and if you save weekly from what you earn every single week, when I come, it’ll be a huge blessing, and I can take your gift to Jerusalem.”
That’s an illustration of saving money in order to be a blessing. To give money, to serve others. And you can do that in the short term or the long term, as in the example that I previously made.
Starting a business at some point in the future, having the business capital to start up, you have to save to get there. But, your ultimate goal is to be a blessing. Maybe one day you could be a millionaire, and you can give away millions of dollars and lay up lots of treasure in Heaven.
So you can see that saving money could be on the path to laying up more treasure in Heaven, which is what Jesus wants us to do and what, of course, all followers of Christ want to do.
How to Invest in the Stock Market
There are valid reasons to save, but, regarding the stock market, again, it’s not a short term investment. If you want to invest in the short term, like you’re saving up to buy a car in two years, I wouldn’t personally recommend the stock market. Because there’s a chance you could lose money. And nobody wants to lose money. And God, I don’t think, wants us to lose money.
Now, people try to beat the stock market. One of the ways to do it is of course to spread your investment out over the entire stock market. These are called Index Funds where you basically are investing in the top 100 biggest companies in North America, for example. Those are actually the safest and in one sense the smartest mutual funds to invest in, but the trouble is, as I mentioned on our previous little lesson, you’re very likely to be investing in a few companies where what they’re doing doesn’t please God.
So I’m not encouraging investment in Index Funds, but I am certainly encouraging, if you’re going to invest for the long term, spread out your investment. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
No One Can Predict the Future of the Stock Market
People also try to beat the stock market by predicting the future. There are a lot of really, really smart people who have trying to figure it out this as their business. And the next thing they’re trying to figure out is how to convince you that they can predict the future. None of them can.
This year’s great stock picker is often next years major loser. Because you could you say, “Well, last year my investments returned 100%, I doubled my money so listen to me.”
Well, it wasn’t because he was so smart. It was because he was so lucky! Luckiness has a way of turning into unluckiness, so my advice is to be conservative investing in companies that have proven track records, that are definitely providing goods and services that benefit people and are evolving with the times. And the stock value goes up and they’re paying the dividends.
Investing in the Stock Market is Participation in a Functioning Economy
You think about it, what an opportunity it is to be a part-owner of a business that is providing goods and or services for which people are willing to pay a fair price. It’s the investors that make it all possible. All the blessing that comes from an economy, a functioning economy, comes from the people who’ve invested, who are part-owners in those companies.
For you to say, carte blanche, it’s wrong to invest your money. That would be like saying it’s wrong to participate in a functioning economy. No, it’s the investors that make it all possible. Those are the people who consume less than what they earn, so they’re living below their means, as it were, but seeing the wisdom in preparing for their future. And at the same time, have the blessing of participating in a functioning economy which blesses everybody in that functioning economy.
Alright, well, that’s enough. This is a Little Lesson. There’s so much to be be said about this, but, I thought I’d just give you my two cents.
Thanks for listening! God Bless.