Stocks & Shares

  • Question from RB, United Kingdom

    Someone asked me a question and I need help with an answer! My friend asked me “What should I do about my stocks and shares?”

    Some Christians are opposed to investing in stocks and shares, simply because they view it as a form of gambling. However, while the stock market does present a risk, investments are usually made using market knowledge. Very rarely is an investment made blindly.

    From the point of view of a Christian trying to be salt and light in the world, it is best to invest through an ethical broker. These are fairly easy to find, although they are few in number. Obviously, investing ethically may not offer as big a return as ploughing money into arms manufacturers, but there is a serious question of conscience when it comes to investing.

    From a theological point of view it is very important that Christians are aware of the following points.

    1. We are stewards of the money and resources given to us, not the sole owners, therefore God has a legitimate claim on everything in our life, including our money.

    2. If we are to ‘do everything as to the Lord’ (Colossians chapter 3 v 23), our financial transactions must be squeaky clean and done in an attitude of honesty and righteousness.

    3. The first two commandments given by God to the Hebrews at Mount Sinai (see Deuteronomy chapter 5) relate to the priority God has in our lives. We are not to allow anything to become more important than God or trust in any thing man-made (idolatry) – man-made wealth included!

    4. Jesus urged his followers to store up treasure in Heaven (Matthew 6 v21) and warned the rich that they would suffer in the life to come because they had already received their reward (Luke 6 v24).

    5. The Early Church was characterised by ‘cheerful’ giving (in older translations ‘The Lord loves an hilarious giver’ 2 Corinthians 9 v7) and a sharing of wealth (See the early chapters of Acts).

    6. The Lord does bless the upright, often through material wealth. However most of the Old Testament blessings are conditional on the people of Israel fulfilling their side of the covenant. Jesus promises his disciples everything they could possibly need, but the flipside of this is he was all they really needed. There is an old saying ‘The Lord gives you what you need, not what you want.’

    Having made those points, we are charged with providing for our families, acting responsibly, treating others with dignity and being mindful of the poor. If your friend can do those things through prudent investment in the stock market, then theologically he has nothing to worry about.

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