Ensure that your Motives are Godly and not Worldly
By: Tom Copland
It is possible for a Christian to be involved in investing with godly motives or worldly motives. Your motives for investing are important to God. “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:2)
Godly motives for investing would include the following:
1. Investing in Order to Meet Future Needs—1 Timothy 5:8 states, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Examples of needs that usually require saving and investing would include children’s education, retirement, automobile replacement, and purchase of a home.
2. Giving to God’s Work—If God has blessed you with a surplus and if you have given to God’s work everything that the Lord has laid upon your heart (Proverbs 3:9, 10), then it is possible that God may direct you to invest the surplus with the long-term objective of giving even more.
3. Practicing Good Stewardship—If you have given to God’s work as God directed, then as a good steward, you should invest your surplus as directed in the parable of the talents (Mathew 25:14–30). However, be sensitive to God’s leading; do not invest only to accumulate more. 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).
4. Following God’s Specific Will for Your Life—Sometimes God’s specific will for a believer may be to invest a significant amount in the business that God has called him or her to. Because God discourages debt (Proverbs 22:7), it may be necessary for some people to accumulate significant retained earnings in their company in order to provide the necessary working capital.
Worldly or ungodly motives for investing would include the following:
1. Pride—Some people invest with the objective of accumulating significant wealth because it makes them feel more important than others. This attitude is clearly contrary to God’s Word. 1 Peter 5:5 states, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
2. Selfishness—Philippians 2:3, 4 states, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” Investing with selfish motives is not God’s will.
3. Greed—God warns about greed. Jesus said, “Watch out! 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).
4. Trust in Wealth Rather Than in God—A good example of this is the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:16–21). This man’s problem was not that he had significant wealth but rather that he hoarded his wealth and he trusted in it rather than in God. God called him a fool.
I encourage you to ask God to reveal your motives for investing, and then take action to ensure that your motives are godly: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23, 24).