Investor decisions are often motivated by fear and greed. This is true for Christians and non-Christians alike. While the terms fear and greed may seem harsh, they often fuel investment decisions that seek to minimize risk and maximize financial return for a single stakeholder, the investor.
In contrast, investing as God’s steward requires that investors seek to optimize the interests of other stakeholders, including customers, employees, the community, the environment, even God. God’s oikonomos should commit to provide a safe work environment and living wages for employees, reduce corruption, increase justice in the community, and care for, rather than exploit, the environment.
This mindset requires an understanding of living by faith, holding tightly to God and holding loosely to our expectation of returns.
Living by Faith
Hebrews 11 is commonly called the “faith chapter” because more than fourteen times the writer tells us, “By faith…” followed by the story of a person who undertook a courageous, life-changing action in response to God’s call on their lives.
Dick Weidner, founder of the Legacy Kingdom Fund, renames Hebrews 11 the “risk chapter” because each of the faith moves described involves a level of risk. Weidner says: “By faith, Noah risked scorn, ridicule and his possessions in building the ark. Unaware of where he was going, Abraham stepped out in faith and took the risk to live as a stranger in a foreign country. By faith, Moses’ parents risked their lives to save their son. By faith, Moses turned his back on the treasures of Egypt and risked all to obey God. By faith, Rahab risked her life and that of her family to hide the spies.”
FAITH means belief, firm persuasion, assurance, firm conviction, faithfulness. Faith is confidence in what we hope for and the assurance that the Lord is working, even though we cannot see it. Faith knows that no matter what the situation, in our life or someone else’s, the Lord is working in it.
While each person’s circumstances in Hebrews 11 differed, they shared a common understanding of believing in God’s purpose for their lives. In each case, their faith required that they risk something (reputation, comfort, material security, even the potential of being killed) in order to obey God’s specific calling on their life.
As investors, our main goal should be aligning our investments with God’s purposes. This type of alignment requires faith because it runs counter to what our culture has taught us about the purpose for our investments.
When investors act in faith, looking at benefitting multiple stakeholders, here’s what can happen:
- An investment of five percent of your nest egg into missional businesses, especially in countries closed to the Gospel, can introduce the name of Jesus. It can also provide needed employment and societal transformation.
- If just one percent of the investments Christians held became available for capital investments in missional business, we could deploy billions of dollars into places where capital for accomplishing God’s purposes is in short supply. We could make a material impact on poverty, hunger, education, and safe water among people who desperately need it, and proclaim the gospel among the least reached at the same time.
- Investors challenge the dominant goal of financial security that holds us in bondage to fear and greed. As a result, they open themselves up to trust God for their daily bread while they deploy assets God has given them for His broader kingdom purposes.
Relying on God’s Spirit
The apostle Paul talks in Romans 12 about how God’s spirit renews our minds and allows us to fight back against the pattern of this world. As a result, we can discern His will for us. If we believe his will is, as Paul says, “good, pleasing, and perfect” (Romans 12:2), we can trust that any influence we give God over our investment choices will also be good, pleasing, and perfect. God’s steward must advance beyond the basic financial teaching where many Christians settle—namely getting free from debt and diligently saving for their own financial goals.
Might God be calling His faithful stewards to deploy resources through both donations and investments to accomplish His eternal purposes and win souls for His kingdom? If so, faithful stewards might need to take on risk as an act of obedience to God’s call on their lives, much like the heroes found in Hebrews 11.
If God is speaking to you and stirring your heart and mind regarding taking a faith step with your investments, visit our website Steward Advisors Group to talk to an advisor.