Should Christians Invest In Stocks?

Should Christians Invest In Stocks?

Pastor Vincent - 2 October 2021

Weekend Devotion: Should Christians Invest In Stocks?

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Now, with the stock market getting more volatile, building wealth from stocks market has become a common practice. Not only investors are growing their wealth through stocks, commoners are also seen playing with shares and trading in cryptocurrencies. Even Christian celebrities are coming out to teach people that investing in stocks is a way to make steady income.

 

Nowadays, you can easily find on the internet some quick online tips about how to buy low and sell high, or when to enter or exit the stock market. 

 

Gone are the days where people grow their money in a bank through fixed deposit. People are vying for high or better returns. There are however a few neglected facts in all these endeavors. And I want to point them out to Christians who are investing in stocks and shares, or who are recommending them to others.

 

First, the higher the returns, the possibility of losses are always there. I mean this is a fact. We can be taught to take lesser risk, or calculated risk, but are those risk totally negated? Should just that few higher percent of returns warrant such risks? And should we, as good steward subject the money God has given us to those risk? You can whitewash it by saying it’s not gambling. “Well, investing in stock is a specialization, it’s not gambling”, I once heard someone said that. Then you gotta ask yourselves, are you in control of the stock markets? And when the stock market crashes, who can be responsible? When a recession struck, when a pandemic struck, or when a big player like China impose regulatory crackdown, who is there to cushion your loss? If the outcome of the stock market can be so uncertain and volatile, I don’t see why stocks investments shouldn’t be deemed as a form of gambling, in plain sense.

 

Next, even if we have been on a winning streak with stocks, have we ever thought that those high wins we’ve got meant some poor fellow out there is really losing badly? I mean if you think in the macroeconomics point of view. We are actually capitalizing on some poor fellow’s greed, stupidity or lack of judgment. And these people are largely commoners who are losing their life savings.

 

C’mon, face the fact my brethren, in a stock market, there cannot be a case where everyone is winning at the same time. If you win big, someone out there is losing big time. You can be laughing your way to the bank, but someone out there have just lost their spouse hard earned savings, or their child’s education fee. Someone may have even choose to end their life because of those loss. Now, you may blame it on the fact that these people are greedy, they are stupid, yes they are! But as a Christian, I wouldn’t want to share in those sins. God has called me to be a Christ’s ambassador. I am not here in this world to capitalize on some poor fellow’s loss and cause their pain. Someone else out there may have cause their pain, but I want to be innocent of that. This is my responsibility towards God and to men.

 

Finally, let me tell you a very basic principle as to why a Christian should not invest in stocks. Because God has made it plain to us what is the most basic and orthodox way of growing our wealth.

I wanna draw from (Pro 13:11): Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. Now, my brethren, the Bible says it clearly, “dishonest money dwindles away”. No matter how much you seem to have it now, if it’s acquired by the wrong way, if it’s acquired by speculation, lucky hits, or manipulating the pride, greed and fear of others, you can be sure it will soon become dissipated. Why? Because they are not gotten in the way of Providence, and do not have God’s blessing. Therefore, they are not permanent. And it is a common phenomenon to see most people who started out winning in stocks market, ended up losing more in the end. Their wealth would have been more intact if they’ve not traded in stocks at all. In fact, I’ve always had people who regretted playing with stocks coming to tell me that after big losses, what keeps them playing with stocks were no longer because they were after the profits. They are in fact after that sense of control, or that adrenaline that comes with winning. So it will ultimately become a form of mental addiction. It destroys the human heart in fact. And with dishonest gain, there is no limits. And that is why cryptocurrency is gaining traction nowadays. People who have ventured into stocks find the high winnings of cryptocurrency even more alluring now. And I know people who are really losing big time through trading in those currencies. Many have fallen into depression because of those losses. So my brethren, stop those tradings. You must abhor those dishonest gains.

 

Now, in contrary to that, the bible also gives a positive note here. It says the way to grow wealth is to gather money little by little. Now, this seems to be the more traditional and primitive way, but people are shunning such belief and practice because of greed. Some people asked me: “Pastor, how do you suggest I invest my money, since God has also instructed us to be good steward.” And I say: “Put your money in fixed deposit with the bank”. If you remember what the master told the wicked servant, and here is what he said: “you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest” (Mt 25:27). So a safe and secure investment will be a deposit with the bank to earn interest. Little by little, as the scripture says. Of course, some people might lament saying: “It’s too little!” We can be doing that for 10 years, and it doesn’t earn us as much from investing in stocks.

 

Now listen. Aside from the risk involved, let me make you understand this perceptively. When your money is safe with the bank, and you don’t have to go through the stress and emotional upheavals of monitoring the stocks market, then you will be able to give your full focus to your job. You will do better or even start to specialize in your job. You will become a better engineer, a better teacher, a better accountant, a better administrator, a better manager, so on. And this is when you will be promoted, you will be given pay raise and bonuses because of the skill and specialization you have developed while giving your full focus to your job. And that is how God reward you individually. Instead of earning through speculation, you are earning through specialization. And that’s honest living. That’s honest gain. And I want you to know, my brethren, people who make it rich this way know the value of money. When money is hard earned this way, they’re less likely to splurge. They develop character, such as perseverance and self-control, instead of being given over to instant gratification. Now, if you make it rich by speculation, have you ever thought how would that corrupt your heart, and spoilt your perception of money? It is not hard to see people who make money easily through stocks and investments boast about their wealth. It makes them proud. It puts in them a tendency to spend loosely, and splurge easily? I mean I’m not being judgmental. You know the human heart. And the human heart can easily turn corrupt when it despises the principle of God.

Let me end with this. There was once a brother who told me that there are people like Warren Buffet and George Soros who made it really rich through stocks and investments. And they help many people get rich too. I simply asked the brother two simple questions: First, how many stocks investors made it rich like them? Mostly, I saw commoners losing their money on stocks. Next, I asked the brother, do you aspire to be someone like Warren Buffet or George Soros? Yes they are successful in terms of wealth, but do they look anything close to being God-fearing or God-honoring? Honestly, my brethren, I wouldn’t want to be rich and lose my soul. Moreover, I am not called to be rich in wealth in this world, but I am absolutely called to be rich in Christ, and to make many others rich in such a way too.  

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Pastor Vincent Choo
choochisan@gmail.com

Vincent is the Senior Pastor of The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) and is an ardent missionary to the Chinese World. He currently lives in Singapore with his wife, Qiufen, and has three kids, Mary, David, and Caleb.

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