In January of this year, the gavel at Wall Street fell for the first time on 20,000. 20,000 what, I’m not quite sure; I just know that it was the historic high water mark of the Dow Exchange to that point.
Now, I have lived through more than one recession, and my parents through “the” Depression. Our personal investments are modest, but I suppose we have done our middle-income capitalist part of moving the American economy forward through our adult years. One thing I do know is that once you invest, at least wisely and conservatively, it is important to leave it there; that is, it will need to weather some ups and downs. Constantly pulling it out and plugging it in somewhere else, similar to the relationships showcased in the grocery store tabloids, is not typically considered wise investing.
Alright, I know this is not a perfect analogy, but it does help me to understand this other concept that comes from the Old Testament prophet, Malachi. God is lamenting over His people (again) concerning their unfaithfulness, and since at this juncture they don’t even recognize how they have been disloyal, which is even scarier, God has to spell it out for them:
“You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands…?’”
It’s those words, “what have we gained” that really get me. They (like me) miss the whole point when I look at my temporal ledger sheet instead of my eternal one. OUCH. Our culture’s mantra “he who dies with the most stuff wins” tries to infiltrate my thinking in very pernicious ways, and I’m not just talking about material stuff here. In other words, I’ll be the first in line to protect my reputation, my relationships, my home, hearth, job, etc. But, (and here’s the rub) what if God calls me to an act of obedience that puts even those things in direct opposition to His expressed purpose?
In the first century church, Paul puts it this way:
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Those are tough, tough words. But intelligent investing can be costly and takes sacrifice. It takes diligence and wisdom and counsel and (here’s a fun one) patience persistence in the face of those who choose to buy on credit and go into moral debt. And our culture is deep, deep into moral debt. Just turn on the news.
The same Old Testament prophet goes on to say this…
“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”
And when it comes to smart investing, it’s the end result that counts.
Malachi 3:14; Philippians 3:8; Malachi 4:2 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.