Should a Christian invest in markets?
In the Old Testament, most of what is said about “usury” is negative, but Israelites could provide interest-carrying loans to foreigners (Deu 23:20). In two of His parables, the Lord Jesus acknowledged the normal practice of people putting money into the bank with the expectation of interest being paid (Mat 25:27; Luk 19:23). For convenience and safety, then, most people have a bank account and some of these yield a little interest. The fact that these banks invest in the Stock Market, as do company pension plans, etc., means that almost everyone has an indirect input into the markets. However, it seems that the questioner has in mind the personal investor who is looking for a big dividend or, perhaps more importantly, a quick capital gain.
Obviously, some investments are no-go areas for believers. What Christian would want to profit from the fact that people smoke and drink themselves to death? Who would dare to put the Lord’s money into a company producing drugs that facilitate abortion, or one that profits from exploitation? Ethically, certain investments are out of bounds. That said, there are many companies whose products and services are innocuous, or even beneficial. Are they worthy of a Christian’s financial interest?
This dilemma has never been an issue for the present writer. Few around me had the financial resources to even think about investing; possibly some had never heard of the Stock Market! Any references to it in assembly circles in my native coal-mining district were always negative. But for those of you whose circumstances are different, here are one or two points to ponder.
Is it possible that in buying in to a company you are contracting an unequal yoke just as surely as you would be if going into a business partnership with an unsaved person?
Could it be that the desire for a quick return for an investment betrays the covetous spirit against which the Lord Jesus warned when He said, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesseth” (Luk 12:15 KJV)?
Is it legitimate to risk the Lord’s money on a volatile Stock Market? I use the word “risk” rather than the word “gamble,” in case you think that I am inferring that playing the Stock Market is in the same league as betting on a horse or buying a lottery ticket.
Is it wise stewardship of your time to spend hours of research agonizing over the pros and cons of some investment? Could it distract the mind from Christ, the Scriptures and the assembly?
Perhaps you regard the foregoing as simplistic, but reading William MacDonald 50 years ago colored my thinking on these issues. From memory, it was in The Day Jesus Came to My House that he wrote about “fondling” the share certificates deposited in the home safe! Hyperbole, yes, but the challenge to the reader was to make investments that pay eternal dividends, laying up treasure in heaven, fruit to your account in heaven’s ledgers (Mat 6:20; Php 4:17). Be forward thinking with your investments! For Moses, “treasures in Egypt” were paltry compared with “the recompense of the reward” (Heb 11:26).