Summary: What kind of investment advice have you gotten lately? In Ephesians 5 we learn about what REAL investing is!
There is a lot of talk lately about what is wise and unwise. We see this especially in relation to the financial world. With economic times being tough, it seems that there are “experts” popping up everywhere like weeds to tell us how to invest wisely. They tell us that we need to diversify our portfolios, or that we should be buying only gold and precious metals, they say we should sell off our houses, or we should buy more houses. You hear that we need to buy cars, or that we should avoid buying cars, and on and on. It’s hard to figure out which advice is wise and which is foolish. Sometimes, what is wise and what is foolish changes! A good investment in a strong economy may not be a good investment in a poor economy. Investing in an audio cassette tape factory would have been smart in 1981. It would have been a bad idea in 1991!
Talking about wise investing often times seems like trying to hit a moving target! But something I read recently changed my mind. I was read a book a few months ago that talked about an island off of the coast of Georgia that became known in the late 1800’s as the Jekyll Island Club. It was a place where the richest of the rich in America would go to play. They built, “cottages” on the island, and by cottages I mean palaces. And they had all the creature comforts that anyone could imagine. The list of members was more like a list of the Titans of Industry. They were almost all household names: Henry Hyde, Marshall Field, J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, William Vanderbilt, just to name a few.
I caught myself wondering what it was that all these men had in common. I thought, “How great would it be to listen to their conversations and learn what made them so successful to listen to their wisdom on life and investing!” And then a thought hit me. I do know what they all have in common. And this thought challenged how I think of wisdom and investing. Do you know what they all have in common? They are all dead. What they have in common is that none of their investments, or their money, or their houses, or their business mean anything at all to them now. All of them had great earthy investments that were worth a lot of money, but not ONE of those investments can last, or will last forever. I pray that they invested in the Grace of God and not just in the material world.
So what does it mean really to “invest wisely” when it comes to our faith? My prayer is that in our time together, God would use his Word to answer this question for us and to guide us and direct us to value and invest in the things that HE says are valuable and important and worthwhile. Or maybe to put it another way, that we would have the kind of focus that our reading from Proverbs leaves us with in the last verse: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
This seems like such a simple thing to focus on, but too often as a church and as individual Christians, we lose sight of the things of God, we lose touch with the wisdom of God, we end up investing in the things that don’t matter as much as God.