The general advice one often receives while looking into investing is to make sure you do your homework. It is important to research well the background of the company or industry you are looking to invest in, to understand the product before purchasing. I can honestly say the most “research” I have done was watch movies that revolved around stock markets, such as Boiler Room (2000) and The Wolf on Wall Street (2013), which admittedly does not paint the most encouraging picture of that world which can turn out to be very volatile and destructive. That being said, with the right education, discipline, and patience, one can potentially see their investments grow exponentially. It is this idea of fast and furious growth that excites those who are interested in investing, in seeing their investments multiply, and creating a financial safety net for their retirement, and perhaps for the generations that follow.
The uncertainty that followed the year 2020, led by a hopeful yet cautious sentiment for the year 2021 has more people thinking about their futures, their children’s futures, and rightfully so. It was not until I had a conversation with someone about investments that I started to pursue the idea that I too would start looking into stocks and investments this year and move forward with that idea, as I was seeing many around me do as well. That was my first mistake.
While I applaud those who take the initiative to create a better life for themselves, fat too often we forget who it is who is really in charge. Proverbs 19:21 states “many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” I started to question God at that point and reasoned with him about being prudent about my future and starting to invest. That is when, in a most relatable way, God softly asked, who said you weren’t investing, that you aren’t investing? God then began to show me the time I had just picked a random lane at the grocery store to line up and pay, to end up paying for the elderly woman in front of me whose debit card was not working. In addition to helping others out, the sacrifices one makes for the sake of growing with God are also investing. Recently, I had someone share with me their experience of giving up vices that are not necessarily harmful but don’t align with the values of who God has called them to be. After the sacrifice was made on that individual’s part, blessings came pouring in shortly after. God clearly displayed the ways that we can invest into the most important future of all, His Kingdom, and sometimes random opportunities are not random at all but opportunities to invest. In alignment with what it takes to smartly invest our finances, we must do our homework and study the Bible, reflect on His teachings, for our very breath is invested in what He wills. We are reminded to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33) and also “not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:16). Pleasing God should be our ultimate payout.
Planning for the future is a very wise mindset to have. With many options out there screaming for your attention, it’s important to remember God’s promise, “for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). That is what we are ultimately striving for, a hopeful future. The stock market similarly has its ups and downs that mirror our own lives, with uncertainty for the endgame. God, however, has promised that “the one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,” (Revelation 2:26). A solid investment, with a solid return.