I. IS SAVING/INVESTING SCRIPTURALLY LEGITIMATE?
A. HOW DO WE EXPLAIN VERSES THAT SEEM TO LEGISLATE AGAINST SAVING?
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroys, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).
For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more that food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they . . . why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not cloth himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:24-33).
. . . “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life? . . . but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments . . . The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:16-21).
He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs . . . and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belt (Mark 6:8).
[Peter, James and John] . . . left everything and followed Him (Luke 5:11).
“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; and they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! . . . Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you, O men of little faith! And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek for his kingdom, and these things shall be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke 12:22-34).
“Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “ . . . You know the commandments . . . And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” And when
Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad; for he was extremely rich . . . And Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes, and followed You.” And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life” (Luke 18:18-30).
1. We can save and invest only if we also give
And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a certain rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘This is what I will do; I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, `Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:13-21).
B. PARABLE USING SAVING AND INVESTING
For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves, and entrusted his possessions to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away and dug in the ground, and hid his master’s money.
. . . Now after a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. And the one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me; see, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.’ The one also who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted to me two talents; see, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground; see, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten talents’ (Matthew 25:14-28).
“A certain nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back . . . it came about that when he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him in order that he might know what business they had done. And the first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ And another came, saying, ‘Master, behold your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you are worthless salve. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow? Then why did you not put the money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ And he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas’ (Luke 19:12-24).
II. INVESTMENT GOALS
A. ACCEPTABLE INVESTMENT GOALS
1. Providing for your family
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).
2. Leaving an inheritance (See INHERITANCE scriptures)
B. UNACCEPTABLE INVESTMENT GOALS
1. The desire to become rich
But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction (1 Timothy 6:9).
a. When we want to become rich we are loving money
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang (1 Timothy 6:10).
b. How to avoid temptation to become rich
1) Flee from the temptation
But flee from these things [the desire to get rich], you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11).
2) Worship God only
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’” (Matthew 4:8-10).
And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship me, it shall all be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” (Luke 4:5-8).
III. SAVING (see Saving Scriptures)
IV. GOD’S FRAMEWORK FOR SUCCESSFUL INVESTING
A. KNOW WHERE THE LORD WANTS YOU TO INVEST
I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go (Isaiah 48:17).
Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth (Ecclesiastes 11:2).
1. Business/vocation before acquiring home
Prepare your work outside, and make it ready for yourself in the field; afterwards, then, build your house (Proverbs 24:27).
a. Examples of those who owned home
And when Jesus had come to Peter’s home . . . (Matthew 8:14).
. . . they came into the house of Simon and Andrew . . . (Mark 1:29).
And He . . . entered Simon’s home . . . (Luke 4:38).
b. Examples of those who did not own home
And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20).
He [Paul] stayed two full years in his own rented quarters . . . (Acts 28:30).
C. AVOID RISKY INVESTMENTS
There is a grievous evil which I [Solomon] have seen . . . riches were lost through a bad investment . . . (Ecclesiastes 5:13-14).
There is another problem I have seen everywhere – savings are put into risky investments that turn sour, and soon there is nothing left to pass on to one’s son. The man who speculates is soon back to where he began – with nothing. This, as I have said, is a serious problem, for all his hard work has been for nothing; he has been working for the wind. It is all swept away (Ecclesiastes 5:13-16, TLB)
D. BE A STEADY PLODDER
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage . . . (Proverbs 21:5).
Steady plodding brings prosperity (Proverbs 21:5, TLB).
1. Do not be hasty
. . . everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty (Proverbs 21:5).
. . . he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished (Proverbs 28:20).
A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth, and does not know that want will come upon him (Proverbs 28:22).
E. TIMING IMPORTANT
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
F. SEEK COUNSEL (See COUNSEL Section)
G. KNOW YOUR FINANCIAL CONDITION TO PROVIDE FOR YOUR NEEDS AND ACCOMPLISH YOUR OBJECTIVES
Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the grass disappears, the new growth is seen, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, the lambs will be for your clothing, and the goats will bring the price of a field, and there will be goats’ milk enough for your maidens (Proverbs 27:23-27).
For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him (Luke 14:28-29).
H. PLANNING AND ORDER ENCOURAGED
Prepare plans by consultation . . . (Proverbs 20:18).
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage . . . (Proverbs 21:5).
Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts (Proverbs 24:3-4, TLB).
But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner (1 Corinthians 14:40).
For God is not a God of confusion . . . (1 Corinthians 14:33).
V. INSTRUCTIONS TO SUCCESSFUL INVESTORS
A. DO NOT BE PROUD
Thus says the Lord, “ . . . let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me . . . (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited . . . (1 Timothy 6:17).
. . . let the rich man glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind, and withers the grass; and its flower falls off, and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away (James 1:9-11).
B. DO NOT TRUST IN RICHES
For because of your [Moab] trust in your own achievements and treasures, even you yourself will be captured (Jeremiah 48:7).
. . . [Ammon] trusts in her treasures, saying, ‘Who will come against me?’ Behold, I am going to bring terror upon you, declares the Lord God of hosts (Jeremiah 49:4-5).
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).
C. GIVE GENEROUSLY
Instruct them [the rich] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share (1 Timothy 6:18).
D. DO NOT BECOME INACCESSIBLE
Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field, until there is no more room, so that you have to live alone in the midst of the land! (Isaiah 5:8).
VI. GENERAL INVESTING PRINCIPLES
A. PAY A FAIR PRICE FOR AN INVESTMENT
If you make a sale, moreover, to your friend, or buy from your friend’s hand, you shall not wrong one another. Corresponding to the number of years after the jubilee, you shall buy from your friend; he is to sell to you according to the number of years of crops. In proportion to the extent of the years you shall increase its price, and in proportion to the fewness of the years, you shall diminish its price; for it is a number of crops he is selling you. So you shall not wrong one another . . . (Leviticus 25:14-17).
1. Many deceive to avoid paying fair price
“Bad, bad,” says the buyer; but when he goes his way, then he boasts (Proverbs 20:14).
VII. ACCEPTABLE FOR A WIFE TO INVEST
An excellent wife . . . considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard . . . She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen (Proverbs 31:10, 16 ,24).