Morality & Investing: Investing As A Christian
As it concerns believers in Christ and investing, I find that sometimes they’re very conflicted. Today, I want to go over my thoughts as it concerns this topic, since I periodically get questions along these lines.
Some believers say, “I’m not getting involved with stocks because that’s gambling”. And to that I’d say, when you buy shares in a company that has real assets and real earnings and it’s bought at a value price and serves the needs of others…that’s far from a gamble. So I’d call ignorance on that one. In other words, they don’t know how to size up and value a company. They just see it gyrating up and down on a chart and it seems “random” to them…or “like a gamble”, of which it’s not.
Now…can you gamble with stocks? I believe it’s possible and it’s why I dodge these type of stocks. 90%+ of my investable assets will always be in prudent investments which are in huge companies that are fundamentally solid. If you ever have speculations, they should be VERY small and never get you off track from your retirement goals. Anything that can derail you from your retirement goals is simply not being a good steward of what’s been entrusted to you, by God.
Secondly, you’ll hear believers sometimes say, “I’m not getting involved with the stock market. That’s just worldly and filthy lucre. After all…money is the root of all evil.”
And to that I’d say, the Bible says, the LOVE (lusting after) money is evil. In other words, if money takes its place above God in your life, then money becomes your god…and money makes a HORRIBLE god. It can’t save us. However, money is a tool and the Bible says more about the topic of money than most topics in the Bible. So I’d say, God thinks this is a pretty important topic.
He talks about the importance of not spending/consuming all you have and yet saving (storing up) some of that, via savings in Proverbs 6:6-8.
Then he goes on to talk about investing in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. To the one who just buried their money in the ground and didn’t invest it was called, “evil”, “wicked” and “lazy”, depending on which translation you read. I don’t want ANY one of those to fit me! So the Bible is very much on prudent investing…stewarding wisely (growing your money OVER TIME) through investing. And the story is clear…at a BARE MINIMUM, they should have put their money with the bankers and earned interest. So it’s BIBLICAL to have your money make more money for you (and for the kingdom of God).
But then there come the question of “what to invest in”…
And to that, many Christians try to scrutinize a company basically to see if they’ve ever done anything wrong. You’ll find that if you screen companies that way, you won’t be left with anything to invest in. Why? I don’t expect companies to necessarily to be “Christian”…although if more Christians would be entrepreneurs and launch businesses, we could have even more to pick from.
But I don’t expect a company (which is most of the time run by someone that’s not a believer in Christ aka born-again), to be “Christian”. So where do I draw the line? Is their primary business something that meets a need of the public that’s NOT immoral or to their detriment.
For instance: I’m not going to invest in Altria (MO) because I don’t believe there’s anything productive for society in filling their lungs with smoke that causes cancer. So I’ll pass on that one, no matter how good the fundamentals of the company are.
I won’t invest in marijuana companies because the CEO’s still say that 80% or more of the use of what they do is still “recreational”. In other words, MOST of what they do is not going to anything that helps someone medically, etc. Therefore, it provides nothing productive for society. It only degrades it as more people “toke”, which causes many people to lose motivation and slow productivity and run the risk of hurting more people in auto accidents (yes, Colorado has already proven this point). So I’m not investing in them.
However, I don’t expect my company to be “Christian”…but I do expect their primary business to be something that’s beneficial to society and not something that is immoral or takes it downward.
So…no matter what the prospects are of a company “going to the moon” in its share price OR how fundamentally sound the company may be from a financial/fiscal standpoint, I don’t need to make a profit that bad.
Anything I make a profit on, I want it to also be because the company puts out a product or delivers a service that is truly beneficial to society and not to its detriment. So this is where I stand on this issue. I believe it’s biblical.
To invest in something that is “only Christian”, I believe is unbiblical. For instance, where did God cause Joseph to rule? In Egypt (a non-believing nation). Where did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego go? Their influence was in the midst of a non-believing nation.
In other words, Biblical examples have you go out INTO a non-believing world and make a difference. And steward and be an influence and great steward, out there! So that’s what we do in the investing world. We’re prudent stewards as we invest in SOLID companies fundamentally, that generally are large companies, with lots of cash, earnings and low debts…trading at a value price and at times, with a good paying dividend yield as well. That’s stewardship!
After all, the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just. (Proverbs 13:22). And ideally, we’re to leave an inheritance to “our children’s children”…so wealth that would go down a couple of generations past what we needed to live on. That’s what the Bible has to say about it!
So, I hope this gives you some things to think about if you’re a believer and contemplating investing or if you’re a believer and an investor, yet you wonder what you should or should not invest in.
P.S. – If you’d like to learn more about what the Bible has to say on the topic of money, you can check out my e-book: The Six Keys To Financial Success. https://www.ebookit.com/tools/pd/Bo/eBookIt/booktitle-The-Six-Keys-to-Financial-Success