home > Pastor’s Desk > 2022 > December 2nd > HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL INVESTOR (OF MORE THAN JUST MONEY)

In the now classic 1926 story by George Samuel Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon, set in ancient Babylon around 4,000 years ago, he describes the frustration that a craftsman was experiencing because of his inability to get ahead. His clients were wealthy aristocrats who always seemed to be always getting richer. Yet, no matter how hard he worked he always seemed to be barely making ends meet. This led him to investigate how one might change his circumstances from struggling to succeeding. The result of his investigation was aided by an opportunity to talk with ‘the richest man in Babylon’ who told him that there was only one way for anyone to change their circumstances from poor to rich: invest. This, the wealthy man told the craftsman, was what all those who were rich did, and it was not what anyone poor was doing. The advice this craftsman received (and then implemented) was not a get-rich-scheme, but rather, it was a plan that involved budgeting, saving, and investing. The craftsman implemented the plan and, over time, he too became rich.

But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant!
You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?
Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers,
and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
Matthew 25:26-27

 

HOW TO INVEST

Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t…pays it.
― Albert Einstein

Investing to most people involves money. Money usually represents the exchange of a person’s time, which is a portion of their life. With money a person can live – but our Creator does not want anyone to live for money (Heb. 13:5). But our Creator has designed this world to be able to abundantly provide for every inhabitant of this planet because He has made a significant investment into this world to enable it to be so. When God created Adam and the First Woman, it was an investment into this world. This investment would eventually result in the world’s billions of people who have since been born. God is therefore the Ultimate investor. And it should be readily seen that He has created His image-bearers to also be investors. It’s no accident that after the first eleven foundational chapters of Genesis, the remaining chapters all narrate the stories of significant investors: Abraham (Gen. 24:35); Isaac (Gen. 26:12); Jacob (Gen. 30:43); and Joseph (Gen. 41:49, 56).

In Robert Kiyosaki’s 1997 best-selling book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, he states that there are 6 levels of financial investing beginning with:

(i) saving money; then

(ii) banking your money; then

(iii) investing into a cash-management/mutual fund; then

(iv) investing into a business such as shares or a rental property. 

“Investing involves taking a risk that also usually involves a sacrifice – in the hope and likelihood – that it will produce increase, multiplication and growth.”

It’s not just business-people who are investors. Farmers are investors. Gardeners are investors. Mothers and fathers are investors. Kids church workers, Youth pastors, Home Group Leaders, and worship team leaders are all investors. In fact, we are all investors – it’s just that some people have learned how to do it well. Dave Ramsey is someone who has learned to do it well. By the age of 26 Dave had become a multi-millionaire from flipping real-estate. He then over-extended his business loan and without notice his bank was acquired by another bank who demanded that he clear his multi-million dollar loan immediately. As a result, Dave Ramsey went bankrupt. When he hit rock-bottom he was determined to recover. It was at this time that he encountered Christ. His newfound faith in Christ led him to search the Scriptures to learn everything that God had said about handling money. Dave concluded that God instructed His people to manage their money by doing 5 things – including investing. By doing these five things Dave Ramsey has now become a multi-millionaire again which has enabled him to live debt-free and to undertake much philanthropic projects. His five things that he sees prescribed in God’s Word for every believer is a little different from Kiyosaki’s list.

(i) Set a monthly budget and keep to it.

(ii) Get out of debt and cease using credit cards.

(iii) Tithe.

(iv) Save.

(v) Invest.

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.
You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.
Enter into the joy of your master.’
Matthew 25:31

INVESTING MORE THAN JUST MONEY

¶ The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Second Corinthians 9:6

Followers of Christ should learn: how to live with financial integrity; how to live debt-free; and, how to invest their money. John Wesley reported said that believers should earn as much as they can, save as much as they can, and give as much as they can. Some believers have mistakenly said that they don’t care about money. In one sense this is a correct attitude toward money (Jer. 9:23), but in another sense it does not reflect the overall message of God’s Word about how a believer should regard money. The Bible calls believers to steward (“manage”) their money wisely (1Cor. 4:2). Handling money wisely enables a husband and father to provide for his wife and children, build reserves for life’s unforeseen circumstance, and save for the future when there will no further income from his employment.

But investing does not just involve money – especially for the believer. The principles of investing also apply to our own lives by investing into our relationship with Christ through deepening our knowledge of God and His Word; prayerfully growing our capacity to serve Him; worshipfully learning how to emulate the attitudes of Christ in dealing with people, and sharing our time to serve and help others. You can invest into your own life by taking the time to learn, receive training, and develop new skills.

¶ You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses
entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
Second Timothy 2:1-2

Perhaps one of the most rewarding ways a believer can invest more than just money is by investing their time, expertise, experience, and presence into others. Mothers and fathers naturally do this with their own children. Any mother will tell you that mothering several children is a very demanding job that requires much sacrifice on their part but that they do it gladly because they know that the time and training they invest to the sons and daughters will one day produce a huge dividend. Elders and pastors within a church do the same thing for those in their church community. And God will often use you to invest briefly into the soul of another just for a significant moment with a word of encouragement or a timely gift.

If we want to see future generations of believers seeking the Lord and striving to serve Him more passionately, it will require that we each become prayer investors. Do you realise that your prayers will ‘live’ on after you have long passed away? You can begin to invest prayers by praying for those who will be ministering God’s Word the following Sunday. You can invest your prayers into the next generation of leaders within our church by praying for their future development. And you can, as I do, be praying for leaders of our church and state that are yet to be born! Be a prayer investor! 

 

THE CHALLENGE TO BECOME AN INVESTOR

Let me sum up. The most basic form of investing was described by Christ in the parable of the talents where He described it as putting money with the money-lenders to earn interest. Albert Einstein stated that compound interest is “the eighth wonder of the world”! When some people hear the word ‘investing’ they might think that it only involves money. Investing involves thinking about present action and the future consequences of those actions. And then acting in a way that sacrifices present income to invest in a richer future. Understood in a much broader sense, investing can – and should – mean thinking about much more than just money. It can involve investing time, effort, wisdom, training, and prayer. Investing done well results in increased wealth and riches which is not just limited to financial rewards. It is exemplified in the biblical promise, “You reap what you sow.” Each generation is responsible to steward the resources that are at its disposal. These resources are managed by individuals, families, communities, states, nations and the Church. Church leaders have a duty to invest well into the spiritual resources that shape culture to the glory of God so that a tree is planted for the next generations will be the ones who enjoy its shade. Will you invest your life, your time, talents, and treasure into a future reward that you may not even live to witness or enjoy?

¶ These all died in faith, not having received the things promised,
but having seen them and greeted them from afar,
and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
Hebrews 11:13

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

2 Comments

  1. LYDIA

    Thank you Andrew. I like your ‘punchline’…
    ¶ These all died in faith, not having received the things promised,
    but having seen them and greeted them from afar,
    and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
    Hebrews 11:13
    Sowing into a soul for a moment or more, tilling the earth so to speak, knowing there is enough in and on this earth to care for all the billions of people that live on this planet. Its just what you do with what you have, knowing, as the book of Hebrews says, we are but strangers and exiles passing thru.
    While there is life we can certainly redo, which you pointed out. Therefore, its where our focus is, either on ourselves aiming to be rich – or on the Giver of life, who we put first in our lives and then, blessings of ‘all’ kinds abound, often too numerous to mention.

    Reply
  2. Norman Macdonald Macdonald

    I find investing in relationships challenging and rewarding and unlimited as well as the various ones you have pointed out. Keep on preaching it brother.

    Reply

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Now I turn my attention to an oft neglected aspect of our spiritual well-being: resting. As a disclaimer, I am one of the least qualified to discuss this topic—but, embarrassing, any lessons I have learned about the value of rest have come negatively from not resting as I should have and then enduring the inevitable consequences.

3 EXERCISES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHIER, FITTER, & STRONGER, Part 2

A healthy lifestyle involves regular vigorous exercise (aerobic exercise) – such as long brisk walk, a competitive game of tennis, or a 30-minute jog – and, eating a healthy diet. In Part 1, I drew the parallel to how we maintain our physical health with how we can contribute to our spiritual health. In particular I pointed out that just as doing aerobic exercise delivered more oxygen into our blood stream, so too does developing our times of prayer add spiritual oxygen into our soul. In this instalment, I am going to draw parallels with maintaining a healthy diet of eating fresh fruit and vegetables, cutting down on sugared and processed foods, and how our spiritual diet. Too many Christians have poor diets. I hope to encourage you not to be one of them. 

3 EXERCISES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHIER, FITTER, & STRONGER, Part 1

Every physical fitness coach will tell you that daily exercise which causes you sweat and puff is the kind of exercise that is doing you long-term good. Vigorous physical exercise such as running will cause you to need more air in your lungs which will cause you to puff. Puffing, the act of heavy breathing to replenish your need oxygen helps your respiratory and cardio-vascular systems to become healthier. Interestingly, breathing is the word that the Bible uses to describe how God created the First man. As a result of the lack of spiritual exercise, too many people do not have spiritual reserves, and consequently lack spiritual strength, capacity, confidence, psychological contentment, or the emotional happiness that they would otherwise have had. Yet, this is so unnecessary considering that there are three very simple spiritual exercises that everyone whose spirit has been regenerated can do to remedy this malady. 

AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SERPENT

It might seem an odd thing to write about just two days before Christmas, but the story of God plaguing the Israelites with poisonous snakes and then commanding Moses to construct a bronze serpent and attach it to a cross-beamed pole has baffled even the best minds for centuries. Some people have regarded this story as yet another reason for them to reject God and the Bible and consider both to be nonsense. An ever-so-slightly-less-cynical approach that some, who seem to really want both God and the Bible to be true, have taken is to regard the story as a fictional myth with mysterious allegorical meaning. I think this is how Dr. Jordan Peterson recently interpretted it in his discussion with Mr. John Anderson on their Youtube discussion last week. The high profile psychologist Dr. Peterson seems to have been on an interesting spiritual journey of late and he is obviously delving into the Bible and coming up with what appear to be some roadblocks to his complete acceptance of the claims of Christ largely due to these obscure passages in the Bible such as this account in Number 21. “No one has ever been able to explain it to me!” he told Mr. Anderson. I wish he had asked me, because if he had, this is what I would have explained to him.

THUS SAITH THE LORD

Within the sixty-six books of Scriptures we have a unified and coherent revelation from God about His identity as the Creator, the Law-giver, the Redeemer, the Saviour, and the Final Judge. Its sixty-six books tell one story – God’s plan of redemption and conquest over and ultimate vanquishing of evil. Within the Scripture is the revelation of how to be reconciled to God by having our sins forgiven through Christ. It is the Scriptures which assure us that we have one mediator between us and God the Father – Jesus the Christ (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 9:15; 12:24) through whom we can directly appeal. It is within the Scriptures that we find the commands of God for how we are to live, conduct our lives, order our affairs, treat others, and prioritise our worship of God. Thus, we are not permitted to just be “hearers” of God’s Word, we are to accept its authority and be compliant with its commands and imperatives (Rom. 2:13; 1 Tim. 4:16; James 1:22-23) – because it is the Word of God.

AMAZING ACCESS

Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.

WHY FINDING TRUTH MATTERS

How can we determine whether a claim is true or false? Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-
 Truth corresponds to reality.
 Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).
We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT YEARS OF ANYONE’S LIFE

Parents, Kids Church leaders, and Christian school teachers should be intentional about shaping children to be fully devoted followers of Christ who have reasons for believing Christianity is true – which shapes them into virtuous contributors to society and to find their role in God’s Kingdom. This will be one of the necessary and indispensable means for the Church to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ.

TIME- YOU CAN’T CONTROL IT – BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT

We live in a fast paced world. We expect things to happen quickly. None of us like to be kept waiting. Even when we order something online we expect it delivered straight away. Some of us having to work two or even three jobs just to be able to pay the bills. We describe ourselves as time-poor. Yet, we all get twenty-four-hours in a day. Sixty-minutes in an hour. And sixty-seconds in a minute. Most of us need to adjust how we see, understand, and treat our time. This will involve, what will be for some, adopting a foreign and largely unaccustomed view of time that involves worship, sabbath, and deepening relationships. From this biblical perspective we will come to see time as a gift from God, not a curse, or source of frustration. Within this gift of time God teaches us how to worship in those times when it is difficult to do so. Rather than thinking this divine gift of time is ours to do with what ever we want, God uses this gift to teach us that we should gift it back to Him beginning with (but not limited to) treating Sunday as a sabbath to come together to recommit our hearts, voices, minds, and presence with God’s people, back to God. God gives us passing time to learn to deepen relationships – especially with our kin, and our friends. Time is meant for relationship building.