Are you a “good” or “bad” investor?
That can’t be answered without an understanding of an investor’s purpose. If you know the purpose of an investor is to manage money in such a way as to make it grow, but your investment accounts fail to see growth year after year, then it becomes apparent that, no matter how good a person you may be, you are a “bad” investor.
In Making Sense of God, pastor Tim Keller makes the point that “All judgments that something or someone is good or bad are based on an awareness of purpose.… How then can we tell if a human being is good or bad? Only if we know our purpose, what human life is for.”
For the secularist, human life isn’t for anything. It’s ultimately meaningless. We’re here only by chance due to random physical forces. But for the Christian, we’re here for a reason. Pastor Rick Warren begins his mega-best-seller The Purpose Driven Life this way:
It’s not about you.
The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.
In the book, Warren contends — with abundant support from Scripture — that God created us with five purposes in mind: to love Him, to be a part of His family, to become like Him, to serve Him, and to tell others about Him. May I suggest that all five of these purposes encompass the way in which we manage and share whatever wealth He has entrusted to us?
- We show our love for Him when we have a heart of generosity. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7, emphasis added here and to the verses below).
- We show we understand what it means to be a part of God’s family when we look after others in the Body of Christ. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:15-17).
- We show we are more like Him when we give sacrificially because He is the perfect Giver. He gave us grace and salvation in Christ at great cost (John 3:16), gives His Holy Spirit to guide and transform (Acts 2:38, Gal 5:22-23), and continues to provide for our needs. “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
- We show we are intent on serving Him when we take our responsibilities as stewards seriously. We know from the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30) that God has temporarily made us managers of His resources, and we know from that passage, as well as Paul’s writings, that “it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2).
- We show we are diligent about telling others about Him when we share our faith and give generously to evangelistic efforts and outreaches to those who don’t know Him. We’ve been given marching orders by our Savior: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you...’” (Matt. 28:18-20).
In light of these verses, how are you doing? Are you a “good” or “bad” steward? I hope it’s the former, but if there’s any doubt, this can be a moment when you determine to change course and move toward a life of faithful generosity.
Every July, we celebrate SMI’s anniversary (this is number 27!) by emphasizing generous giving in our article selections. This is in keeping with our original mission statement where we made it clear our primary goal is to help you have more so you can give more to aid the needy in God’s family and to share the gospel of Christ with the world. We want you to be good stewards as well as good investors, that you might have the joy of experiencing this promise:
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion...” (2 Cor. 9:10-11a).