From a practical perspective, adopting a long-term view is essential for successful investing. It helps us stay with our plan, despite the inevitable pain of many downturns along the way.
The Bible identifies patience as a fruit of the Spirit, which reminds us that, as Christ-followers, we have access to a uniquely powerful Source of help in staying patient while living in a very impatient world.
As I’ve reflected on the many ways a faith-inspired long view can inform our investing journey, three ideas stand out.
First, our relationship with Christ can grow stronger. To invest is to experience days, months, and years of great gains — and great losses. Investing isn’t for the faint of heart, and that gives us plenty of opportunities to bathe the journey in prayer, seeking God’s wisdom, asking Him to search our hearts and ferret out any greed, looking to God for security at times when we’re feeling fearful, and come what may, giving thanks for His grace, mercy, love, and provision.
Second, investing may open up opportunities to share Christ with others. Making counter-cultural lifestyle decisions so that we can free up enough money to give generously and save adequately for our family's long-term provision might get some people’s attention. Remaining calm when others are losing their minds during severe market downturns might prompt questions. These can be opportunities for sharing our faith.
Third, to take the long view is to recognize that this is not our home, which helps clarify our motivation for investing.
An even-longer view
While I’m not of retirement age (yet!), I have thought about how I might use my newly found free time if and when God ever leads me out of full-time work. My hope is that the list would look something like this:
- Spend more time serving as God directs
- Give more instruction to our heirs about how to be good stewards of what they will receive
- Arrange for final Kingdom investments
- Enjoy God’s blessings, such as spending extra time with family and friends, as my wife and I anticipate the far greater blessings that await us in our eternal home. I like how John Eldredge put this idea in The Sacred Romance. He said we express our longing for God best when we “enjoy what there is now to enjoy, while waiting with eager anticipation for the feast to come.”
How else does the "long view" inform your investing journey?