Recession-proof Christian Life
6/30/10 at 02:06 AM 0 Comments

The Prudent “Narrow way” Investor

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Understanding biblical giving and some basic Investment concepts will help believers challenge their advisers on proposals to build an optimum portfolio of assets. In all things including our investments, God can be glorified and we can put money to work, subject to modest levels of risk, in a commercial undertaking, where you expect a return over a period of time that is reasonable. We do not gamble with God’s money. Gambling is to subject our resources to such a risk so great that it is possible to lose most of it for a promise of extra-normal gains.

A study suggested that 3-5% above the rate of inflation can be a reasonable gain...our objective is to keep our money for future needs and have stable resources to respond to God’s command in giving to His work, the poor and/or other possible recipients as the Spirit of God directs.

Prioritisation is important...before we invest or even give to ministry we must often be reminded of certain issues...I certainly am not there yet but I do tend to admire the unusual candour and benchmark expressed in the following extract from Christian Fellowship Church web site based in India on the right way to give to ministry...

A genuine work of God may use money, but it is never dependent on money. It is dependent only on the power of the Holy Spirit. Where any work is dependent on money, it is not a genuine work of God.

Jesus' ministry was dependent only on the Holy Spirit. He did accept gifts of money from His followers for His work (Luke 8:2, 3). But He never asked anyone at any time for money and He never made His financial needs known to anyone but His Father. This is the way that any ministry that honours God will work even today. ...and so, in the more than three decades that we have existed as a church (since 1975), we have never asked anyone for money for our needs and we have never sent out any prayer-letters hinting about our needs either. We have never taken an offering in our church in Bangalore or in any of the many churches the Lord has planted through us in India and abroad. We only place an offering-box at our church-meetings, for those who wish to give - secretly, cheerfully and voluntarily - for the work of the Lord. We have also offered food and accommodation freely always to all who attend our annual three-day conferences in different parts of India. All the elders in our churches support themselves with earthly jobs (like the apostle Paul did) and none of them is supported financially by the churches. Our books and video and audio messages on the Internet are also offered freely for anyone in the world to download and circulate to others freely. We have received everything freely from the Lord and we give it all out to others freely. ... we have never been in debt at any time since we commenced our ministry. We have never taken a bank loan or a mortgage for constructing any of our meeting halls. We do not judge other ministries who do things differently from us. But this is the way God has led us. ... when people ask us whether they can give to support this ministry, we ask them to go through this checklist first: 

 1. Are you a born-again child of God? It is a great honour and privilege to support the work of God on earth; but that privilege is given only to His born-again children (3 John 7).

 2. Do you have enough money for your family's needs? Are you sure that your giving will not put your family under any financial strain? You must take care of your family's needs first (1 Tim.5:8). Our Father in heaven is very rich and He (like any rich earthly father) does not want any of His children to starve or suffer in any way, just because they gave Him money for His work.

 3. Do you have any large debts to repay? If so, do clear those debts first. God wants His children to live restful lives, free from all debt. We must first give to Caesar what is his, before we can give anything to God, because God does not want us to give Him Caesar's money, or anyone else's money (Matt.22:21Rom.13:8).

 4. Do you have a clear conscience? Have you done your best to be reconciled with those whom you have hurt in any way? God will not accept any offering from anyone who has hurt someone and still not apologised to that person (Matt.5:23, 24)

 5. Are you giving freely and cheerfully - and not under pressure from any man or even from your own conscience? God loves cheerful givers, not reluctant givers. He does not want gifts from those who give under pressure, or who give in order to fulfill some obligation, or who give merely to ease their conscience, or who give in order to get some reward from Him in return (2 Cor.9:7).

Please bear with us as you go through this checklist....”

The prudent investor in similar fashion cannot be investing money if deficient in his tithes/offerings, is in debt or has not kept enough to meet family needs...He should pay his debts first to God and man and take good care of his family first.

Excess resources can then be invested noting God’s ownership and sovereignty. The kingdom can use funds to advance the cause of Christ.

The key principle of prudent investment of surplus is diversifying for safety and stability/moderate growth.

Ecclesiastes 11[2] Give a portion to seven, yes, even [divide it] to eight, for you know not what evil may come upon the earth. (amp)

If you are familiar with a few good stocks that you are confident have weathered economic cycles you may stick to these. Insist that your portfolio adviser creates a conservative mix and not a hot high-growth pot....to complement your long term get-rich-slow perspective of a steward(manager) for God who is the owner. You may also consider (if led by the Spirit to do so) an Ethical fund i.e. a mutual fund that limits investment alternatives to securities of firms meeting certain social/ethical Bible-based standards (though these may not perform as well in the market). Real estate is also a viable option but needs to be considered within the context of the overall asset mix and decisions on location/optimum real estate size require professional consultation.  Do not move forward however on what you do not have a grasp for.  Beware of impure motives, worldly-wise wisdom, powerful emotions and unclear vision that appear to lure way from the “narrow” path. Money is no excuse to embrace the broad way to destruction.

Proverbs 13[11] Wealth [not earned but] won in haste or unjustly or from the production of things for vain or detrimental use [such riches] will dwindle away, but he who gathers little by little will increase [his riches]. (amp)

(Article originally published in www.recessionproofchristianlife.com )

Let Jesus reign in your finances. God bless you.Amen

Bode

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