Part 2 - The Principle of Investing
Let’s move forward with our discussion of investing and what that means.
Remember our simple working definition: Investing is sacrificing today for a better tomorrow. I am using the word sacrifice quite deliberately. The word sacrifice and the word sacred come from the same root. The idea behind these words is that something is sanctified, set apart, and dedicated. So, when one invests, one is setting apart and dedicating something in expectation of something even better in the future. Indeed, at the ultimate and highest level, God has given us the example of the sacrifice of His Son, so that all of us could have the opportunity of a future reconciled to our Creator.
Investing has a few important attributes. I’d like to explore these using the example of farming: seedtime and harvest. I use this because it is so familiar to us as Christians. Farming or some version of planting and harvesting is used extensively in Scripture.
· Investing is purposeful. No one invests by accident. It takes a decision to make it happen. The seed doesn’t just fall on the ground; the farmer plants it intentionally and with the goal of harvesting later.
· Investment involves sacrifice. The farmer gives up current consumption of food, because the farmer could choose to make bread from his seed rather than plant it.
· Investment involves the future. Hopefully, this one is obvious: the harvest takes place at a point in time after planting.
· Investment involves risk. The farmer knows that a drought or flood or hailstorm could wipe out his crops.
· Investment involves faith. Despite the risks, the farmer chooses to plant seed in expectation of harvest.
This last part is my favorite because it shows that the concept of investing is intertwined with our Christian walk. Faith in God is an investment in relationship with Him. We invest in time spent studying His Word, praying, volunteering, and supporting His Church. In this context, tithes and offerings are understood as a three-way investment: (1) Most obviously, they represent an investment in the local church, ensuring that the work of the ministry succeeds; (2) They represent the consummation of God’s earthly covenant with us, that He will provide blessing and protection to us (Deuteronomy 30); and, (3) they represent the consummation of God’s heavenly covenant with us, that we will have treasures in heaven following this earthly existence (Matthew 6:20).
How Investing Influences our World
All of the goods and services that make our lives better is a result of investing. Think of your favorite restaurant: someone invested in a building, kitchen equipment, food, employees, etc., all to make your experience memorable. The car you drive is an investment in design, engineering, manufacturing facilities, dealership showrooms, mechanics, and more, all to provide you mobility. Our church is an investment in buildings, pastoral ministry, worship leaders, musical instruments, a volunteer system, etc., all to provide the atmosphere for the Spirit of God to thrive and for lives to be changed.
Investing is vital to all the things we enjoy, all the things we need, and all the things we want. In short, investing is critical to life and, especially, life more abundant (John 10:10).
In upcoming posts, we’ll branch out into concepts of financial investing and more principles of economics.