Keep a Balanced Perspective
By: Tom Copland
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 are 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.