Poor wheel alignment on a car increases friction between tires and the road, eventually resulting in thinning tire treads and a potentially dangerous blowout. A misaligned spine can lead to central nervous system dysfunction as well as a variety of other health problems.
Another category of misalignment is between us and God. While the consequences of not living in alignment to God’s word, values, and purposes may not show up immediately like a blown out tire, they are still very real.
Alignment with God
Most Christians would agree that God values bringing justice and mercy to the poor, loving and serving our neighbor, setting captives free, and being involved in making disciples around the world. And most Christians would agree that God wants to bring these benefits through us. After all, we are His hands and feet on planet earth.
However, while we may state enthusiastic agreement for participating in those outcomes, we don’t often make decisions about our money, and specifically our investments, that match those goals. Maybe we are misunderstanding what risks God might ask us to take.
Have you ever redirected resources that you saved for a specific personal goal and instead invested them in a missional enterprise, for example?
Have you ever considered seeking the benefit of other stakeholders, not just you as an investor, when considering an investment?
We need to consider aligning our investments with
- God’s word
- His values & purposes
- Our own beliefs
When Jesus met with his core followers after his resurrection, he gave them a very direct command : “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).
This command wasn’t just for that small group at that time; believers today know the command is for us as well. We refer to it as the “Great Commission.”
Furthermore, Jesus teaches: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And. . . love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39).
These scriptures teach us that God wants us to be intentional about disciple making and to actively love Him and our neighbor. Other scriptures add injunctions to care for the poor, act justly, and show mercy. We are to invite people to follow Jesus and imitate his works of showing mercy, healing, compassion, and empathy. At times, showing outrage at injustice and superficial religious acts or pious practices in imitation of Jesus is also called for.
Most investors, when asked what their investing goals are, will answer with the same three goals: maximize return, minimize risk, and avoid taxes. Those are perfectly reasonable goals; however, where in those answers is anything about building God’s kingdom? When our portfolios ignore God’s priorities we have a misalignment problem.
We can’t say we want to honor God by practicing those commandments, but be unwilling to deploy our invested assets in obedience to the commands.
Unfortunately we are far from allowing biblical teaching and Jesus’ words to inform our investing goals and habits. Very few voices advocate investing in missional businesses, which by definition are businesses deliberately making disciples in hard to reach locations.
Learn how to fix our alignment problem
Few of us would say we disagree that investments could be used to grow God’s kingdom, we just didn’t know it could be done. It not only can be done, it must be done.
The next post will describe how and why alignment is necessary and effective.