Should Christians Save And Invest Their Money? I Honestly Don’t Know
May 8, 2014
As you may have gathered from some of my Twitter and Facebook posts, I have struggled with the concept of a Christian investing website. I have recently wrestled with the entire topic of biblical views on wealth. When I first started working on the idea for this site, I did a study of Ecclesiastes and some in Proverbs (which I was already fairly familiar with), and I thought I had gotten a pretty good handle on the whole topic.
But the further I have gone with the concept, the more I have wrestled with a lot of other things the Bible has to say on the topic of money. There are certainly scriptures that seem to indicate that saving and investing is a good thing. Personally, I can see many good, positive benefits to doing those things.
At the same time, I am a follower of Christ, who said this:
“Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ” Luke 12:33-34
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” in Luke 6:20
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” in Luke 6:24
“And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.” in Luke 8:14
And of course, every wealthy person’s favorite scripture:
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:25 (also found in Matthew 19:24 and Luke 18:25)
We could actually keep going, but let’s assume that’s enough to make the point. Jesus does not seem to place any sort of importance on worldly wealth. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. He only seems to be concerned about warning us of the dangers of wealth. As David Platt correctly points out in his book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, we tend to put a lot of stock in the power of money. We think money accomplishes so much. But Jesus showed us what can be done through the power of God’s spirit. The power of wealth definitely did not impress Jesus. He went out of his way to show us that the power of wealth wasn’t necessary to build God’s kingdom.
So, is it required or commanded that a Christian save and invest their money? Absolutely not. The Bible teaches us to generally be good stewards, which by the way, could just as easily mean taking 100% of your paycheck down to the homeless each week and then trusting God to provide for all of your needs, as it could to save and invest a large portion of your money over your entire working life.
Is it recommended that you save and invest your money? It all depends on how God’s spirit is leading you. There are scriptures that point to the wisdom of saving and investing, and there are others that tell us to sell our possessions and give to the poor. Each believer must pray and seek God’s will for their own life and situation.
Is it permissible to save and invest money? Absolutely. Even though Jesus says to sell your possessions and give to the needy, it’s not clear that this instruction is meant for everyone at all times. I believe he was serious when he said it. I believe that he wasn’t saying it to hear himself talk. I don’t want to fall into a trap of trying to explain it away. I believe that he meant exactly what he said and that he had a purpose for sending out that word. But Jesus was also pretty clear that he believed all scripture was the inspired word of God. He showed a deep respect for all of God’s word. We must do the same. A full view of scripture gives us no indication that it is wrong to have and use assets, businesses, investments, jobs, etc. There are many other scriptures about money and I try to take each one as seriously as I do the one from Luke 12:33-34. I'm just not always sure how they apply to my life or the lives of the people around me.
So, the bottom line for me is this. I can’t tell anyone that they should save and invest their money. Personally, I think it is wise to do so. I'm going to keep teaching my son to do it. I think there is scriptural support for it. I think the benefits to ourselves, to others, and to society at large are pretty clear when we do it. I think that Christians who set good godly goals and purposes for their money, and then work hard to achieve them are doing well. So, I will continue to talk about the benefits of it, and the scriptural support behind it.
But I also believe that if God is telling you to give away all of your money, or to never store away anything extra, but instead depend completely on him, then you need to do exactly that. The last thing I want to do is steer you away from whatever God may be telling you, especially something as wonderful as giving up all earthly treasures (i.e. wealth) for the purpose of glorifying God.
Honestly, there are times when I wonder if that is what God is ultimately leading me to do. So, my goal and purpose is not to convince Christians that God commands them to save and invest, or even that they have a moral responsibility to save and invest. If I’ve ever said anything like that, please let me retract it right now. Instead, let my only goal and purpose be to help those Christians who want to save and invest, or who feel led to save and invest, to do it in the right ways, using biblical wisdom combined with education about modern financial markets, products, practices, and opportunities.
Please let me wrap this up by saying that I honestly don't have answers much of the time. I do work very hard and tirelessly to find answers, but I often end up with even more questions. I'm not doing this because I'm smart or because I have everything figured out. I'm doing this because I believe God led me to do it, and I am just trying to be obedient to him! Thank you so much for reading!
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